The history of the Americas before the arrival of Europeans in 1492 is told through dramatic recreations and the voices of Indigenous scholars in the 8-part series “1491: The Untold Story of the Americas Before Columbus”. The series was produced by two Indigenous-owned production companies in Canada – Aarrow Productions (Victoria BC) and Animiki See Digital Productions (Winnipeg MB). The series’ producers, directors, writers, narrators, actors and the experts interviewed are Indigenous.

1491 is a docu-drama series that brings to life the complexity, diversity and inter-connectedness of Indigenous peoples in the Americas before the arrival of Columbus. Presented from an Indigenous-perspective through a blend of documentary and scripted drama, the series takes its audience on an journey along a timeline that dates from 20,000 years ago to 1491.

Each episode features eight distinct documentary segments presented through a combination of interviews with prominent Indigenous interpreters and dramatic re-creations that expand on the theme of the episode that include Origins, Environment, Agriculture and Hunting, Architecture, Governance & Trade, Science & Technology, Art & Culture and Continuance.

The series is based on the book “1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus” by Charles C. Mann (Knopf, 2005).


Episode 1 – Origins
Indigenous creation stories are explored in this episode, as well as theories of how and when Indigenous people first arrived in the Western Hemisphere including the Beringia land bridge, ocean arrival, DNA, population growth and tool technology.

Episode 2 – Environment
Significant changes to the natural environment made by Indigenous people are examined in this episode, including resource harvesting, agro-forestry, large scale farming, urban development, irrigation, controlled burning and deforestation.

Episode 3 – Agriculture
Maize appeared in Mexico 10,000 years ago, making it one of the earliest crops in the world to be cultivated by humans. In this episode, Indigenous foods are examined including maize, potatoes, camas, seals, whale, buffalo and salmon.

Episode 4 – Architecture
Indigenous people created iconic, innovative and diverse architectural styles. Pueblo apartment buildings, snow houses, big houses, tipis as well as the cities of Tenochtitlan, Caral and Tiwanaku are explored in this episode.

Episode 5 – Governance and Trade
Each Indigenous nation developed its own unique governance system to manage their citizens and expand their territories. Complex trade networks developed to satisfy political, social and economic goals. This episode looks at governance and trade among the Aztec, Haudenosaunee, Maya, Inka, Cahokia, Hopewell and Kwakwaka’wakw societies.

Episode 6 – Science and Technology
Indigenous people in the Americas were prolific inventors and innovators. They are credited with the first use of the number “0”, the development of multi-year calendars, the creation of complex writing systems and the use of brain surgery.

Episode 7 – Art
The artistic expressions of Indigenous peoples have survived to this day through the preservation of ancient cultural artifacts and sites and in works created by contemporary artists working in traditional styles. This episode explores metallurgy, pottery, rock art, basketry, masks and storytelling.

Episode 8 – Continuance
Contemporary Indigenous approaches to language preservation, the repatriation of ancestral remains and sacred objects, traditional knowledge and Indigenous archaeology are explored in the final episode of 1491.


Welcome to 1491’s international education page for schools, universities, libraries, museums and other institutions worldwide excluduing Canada. For Canadian orders, please contact McIntyre Media at

If you’d like to buy single episodes of 1491 for your institution, please go to our Vimeo on demand education site at Single episodes with Public Performance Rights licenses are $150 each.

You can purchase the full 8-episode series at this site. You’ll receive 8 episodes X 44 minute on individual DVDs as well as an Mp4 file for each episode. You’ll also receive a Public Performance Rights License and a Digital Site License.

The license is for your institution (library system, university, school district, etc), and is in perpetuity. The cost of all eight episodes is $900 US. This reflects a  25% institutional discount from the regular price of $1,200 US.

If you represent an Indigenous organization or a school (not a school district) we have a special rate. Please order from EDUCATIONAL PACKAGE – Indigenous/Single School



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