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Posted at 10:40 AM on Monday, October 29, 2007 by post6895ARLINGTON, Va. - ''Way of the Warrior'' examines the visceral nature of war and the bravery of American Indian veterans who served in World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War - and came to grips with difficult post-war personal and societal conditions. The documentary airs Nov. 1 on PBS.
Through firsthand interviews and accounts from comrades and loved ones, the stories are told against the backdrop of positive and negative themes familiar to Native people - the warrior ethic, prejudice, forced assimilation, poverty, cultural pride and redemptive acts and healing.
The program honors the endurance and sacrifice of individuals such as Mitchell Red Cloud, Ho-Chunk, a Medal of Honor recipient; Ira Hayes, Pima, one of the flag-raisers on Iwo Jima; Phil Coon, Creek, a Bataan Death March survivor; and John Yahola, Creek, a member of the Red Stick Warrior Society. Their stories are examined through the prism of what it means to be ogichidaa, one who protects and follows the way of the warrior.
The gripping and horrifying nature of war is brought home through dramatic historical footage, period photographs and sound effects. These are juxtaposed with photos of veterans in more genial settings, away from combat with family and friends stateside, creating a portrait of not just the warrior, but the paradox of a warrior's motivations.
Video preview from PBS