Skip to main content

1491; the Untold Story of the Americas Before Columbus

Resource Overview

Alternate Title(s): Wilfrid Laurier University - 1491; the Untold Story of the Americas Before Columbus, Untold Story of the Americas Before Columbus, 1491


Link to Resource

Connect to Resource

Jump to individual videos within the playlist at the bottom of the page, or go to another playlist from the "View All Playlists" menu at the top right. The keyword search box at the top right will search within the titles and descriptions of all the videos in all playlists available. Each episode is 45 minutes, in English, and is closed captioned. This playlist includes (descriptive text from resource):

  • Origins: Indigenous creation stories will be explored as well as key discoveries by archaeologists, anthropologists, geneticists and linguists on how and when Indigenous people first arrived in the Western Hemisphere.
  • Environment: For thousands of years Indigenous people have caused significant changes to the natural environment through resource harvesting, farming, urban development, irrigation, controlled burning and deforestation.
  • Agriculture & Hunting: The Neolithic era began more than 10,000 years ago in Mesoamerica with the cultivation of maize. Crops like sweet potatoes, beans and cacao were cultivated and spread throughout the Americas through trade networks.
  • Architecture & Urban Design: Whether living a nomadic existence or in sprawling urban centres, Indigenous people created iconic, innovative and diverse architectural styles. Their homes and community structures fulfilled the needs and values of their society.
  • Governance & Trade: Each Indigenous nation developed its own unique governance model to manage their citizens and expand their territories. These systems ranged from patriarchal and matrilineal-based societies to complex political systems governing multi-nation empires. Complex trade networks developed to satisfy political, social and economic goals.
  • Science & Technology: The ingenuity, skill and talent of Indigenous people is found in the earliest use of the number "0", the mapping of planets and stars, the development of multi-year calendars and the invention of writing systems.
  • Art & Culture: The artistic expressions of Indigenous societies have survived to this day through the preservation of ancient cultural artifacts and in works created by contemporary artists working in traditional styles.
  • Continuance: The final episode of 1491: The Untold Story of the Americas Before Columbus looks at stewardship of Indigenous history in the 21st century. The episode will explore Indigenous perspectives on cultural material repatriation, language preservation, traditional knowledge and archaeology.

Resource Details


Video playlist on indigenous peoples in the Americas before Columbus.



Page Owner: Matt Thomas

Page Feedback

Last Updated: May 2, 2023 11:17am