In The Americas with David Yetman

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In the Americas With David Yetman showcases the landscapes, peoples and history of North America and South America — from the frigid, glacier-carved barrens of northern Canada to the tip of Tierra del Fuego in Chile. During the 10-part series, host David Yetman (The Desert Speaks) visits Mayan temples in Guatemala, isolated settlements in British Columbia, ancient fortresses in Mexico, the wild mountains of western Argentina, colorful festivals in Columbia and the often ignored Great Lakes of the United States. Along the way, he meets natives and immigrants, islanders and mainlanders, pastoralists and city-dwellers, including Japanese immigrants in the Amazon, the descendants of poor Italians in Chile and the Quechua people of Peru.

Distributed by: American Public Television (APT)
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David Yetman

David Yetman

In the Americas host David Yetman, Ph.D., is research social scientist at the Southwest Center of the University of Arizona in Tucson. He is also a nationally known author and accomplished photographer.

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Day of the Dead: A Mexican Celebration

Episode #101 · Many Native American groups in pre-Conquest Mexico celebrated one day each year when their deceased ancestors would return to visit them-El Dia de los Muertos. This ancient tradition has become the state of Oaxaca's most important celebration. Parades, home altars, and gaily-decorated graves welcome back the dead. The custom has spread throughout Mexico and even to Los Angeles and Tucson.

In The Mouth of the Amazon

Episode #102H · The Brazilian city of Belem at the mouth of the Amazon is a showcase of products from the great river basin. Now the famed acai berry is expanding Belem's reputation. Reclusive river people, called ribeirinhos harvest the berries by climbing the tall palms where they grow and rush the produce by boat to the port. There they trade for other goods, and quickly escape the city to return to their tranquil, timeless lives at the edge of the world's greatest river. Host David Yetman takes us through Belem and visits the homes of the river people.

In The Mouth of the Amazon

Episode #102 · The Brazilian city of Belem at the mouth of the Amazon is a showcase of products from the great river basin. Now the famed acai berry is expanding Belem's reputation. Reclusive river people, called ribeirinhos harvest the berries by climbing the tall palms where they grow and rush the produce by boat to the port. There they trade for other goods, and quickly escape the city to return to their tranquil, timeless lives at the edge of the world's greatest river. Host David Yetman takes us through Belem and visits the homes of the river people.

The Pride of Guatemala: Tikal of the Mayas

Episode #103H · Over two thousand years ago Mayas undertook construction of a city deep within the jungles of the Peten region of Guatemala. For over a thousand years the city of Tikal dominated the countryside and the region with its towering temples, affluent society, and hosts of scientists, engineers, and craftsmen. Host David Yetman accompanies archaeologists who explain the unfolding story of Tikal as new discoveries emerge a daily basis. Yetman visits new excavations within the temples and joins a festival at the home of Maya descendants who live not far away from the ancient site.

The Pride of Guatemala: Tikal of the Mayas

Episode #103 · Over two thousand years ago Mayas undertook construction of a city deep within the jungles of the Peten region of Guatemala. For over a thousand years the city of Tikal dominated the countryside and the region with its towering temples, affluent society, and hosts of scientists, engineers, and craftsmen. Host David Yetman accompanies archaeologists who explain the unfolding story of Tikal as new discoveries emerge a daily basis. Yetman visits new excavations within the temples and joins a festival at the home of Maya descendants who live not far away from the ancient site.

The Working Coast of British Columbia

Episode #104H · The Georgia Straits of coastal British Columbia, Canada are dotted with hundreds of islands. This is lumber and fishing county nearly free of roads. One cargo ship delivers heavy equipment and supplies to remote camps, and takes on passengers to view the wild beauty of the straits and inlets, with towering peaks and glaciers overlooking the sea.

The Working Coast of British Columbia

Episode #104 · The Georgia Straits of coastal British Columbia, Canada are dotted with hundreds of islands. This is lumber and fishing county nearly free of roads. One cargo ship delivers heavy equipment and supplies to remote camps, and takes on passengers to view the wild beauty of the straits and inlets, with towering peaks and glaciers overlooking the sea.

Brazil: The Diamond Range

Episode #105H · Far inland from the tropical beaches of Brazil's Bahia state lies an ancient escarpment that juts up into Bahia's vast interior. Host David Yetman takes us on a tour of the Chapada Diamantina, once a rich source of diamonds, now an increasingly popular recreational region. The sheer cliffs and steep mountainsides intercept moisture from the distant Atlantic. The resultant rainfall brings flows into the arid sertao and waters the great swamp where runaway slaves hid from their owners.

Brazil: The Diamond Range

Episode #105 · Far inland from the tropical beaches of Brazil's Bahia state lies an ancient escarpment that juts up into Bahia's vast interior. Host David Yetman takes us on a tour of the Chapada Diamantina, once a rich source of diamonds, now an increasingly popular recreational region. The sheer cliffs and steep mountainsides intercept moisture from the distant Atlantic. The resultant rainfall brings flows into the arid sertao and waters the great swamp where runaway slaves hid from their owners.

Peru: A Train to the Clouds

Episode #106H · Once each month a train departs the coastal mega city of Lima, Peru, bound for the highlands. Along the way the railroad passes through numerous tunnels and over trestles, crowning out at nearly 16,000 feet elevation. Host Dave Yetman hops on the train to arrive at its destination, the indigenous city of Huancayo, high on the Altiplano of the Andes and as different from Lima as any two cities in the world.

Peru: A Train to the Clouds

Episode #106 · Once each month a train departs the coastal mega city of Lima, Peru, bound for the highlands. Along the way the railroad passes through numerous tunnels and over trestles, crowning out at nearly 16,000 feet elevation. Host Dave Yetman hops on the train to arrive at its destination, the indigenous city of Huancayo, high on the Altiplano of the Andes and as different from Lima as any two cities in the world.

Hawaii's Big Island: The Volcanos' Gifts

Episode #107H · The Hawaiian Islands owe their existence to a volcanic hotspot, whose spewings over millions of years have created the archipelago. Host David Yetman climbs over old and new lava flows to observe new lands emerging from the ocean. At night manta rays flock to the newly created seafloor of the Kona Coast.

Hawaii's Big Island: The Volcanos' Gifts

Episode #107 · The Hawaiian Islands owe their existence to a volcanic hotspot, whose spewings over millions of years have created the archipelago. Host David Yetman climbs over old and new lava flows to observe new lands emerging from the ocean. At night manta rays flock to the newly created seafloor of the Kona Coast.

Chiloe and Chilotes: Proud Islanders of Chile

Episode #108H · Chiloe is the second largest island in South America and just one island of an archipelago of southern Chile. Chilotes, as the residents are known, consider themselves a people apart, a proud mixture of indigenous and Hispanic origins. Host Dave Yetman joins Chilotes who demonstrate the traditions of food, towns, and society that extend back well before the arrival of Europeans.

Chiloe and Chilotes: Proud Islanders of Chile

Episode #108 · Chiloe is the second largest island in South America and just one island of an archipelago of southern Chile. Chilotes, as the residents are known, consider themselves a people apart, a proud mixture of indigenous and Hispanic origins. Host Dave Yetman joins Chilotes who demonstrate the traditions of food, towns, and society that extend back well before the arrival of Europeans.

The Cry for Mexican Independence

Episode #109H · On September 16 each year, Mexicans from all parts of the Republic flock to the small city of Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato to commemorate the "Grito," the call for independence from Spain. The grito's originator, the popular but unconventional priest Miguel Hidalgo, issued the call in 1810 from the steps of the town's stately church. The annual celebration involves the entire community but we are offered a special tour by one of Father Hidalgo's descendants.

The Cry for Mexican Independence

Episode #109 · On September 16 each year, Mexicans from all parts of the Republic flock to the small city of Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato to commemorate the "Grito," the call for independence from Spain. The grito's originator, the popular but unconventional priest Miguel Hidalgo, issued the call in 1810 from the steps of the town's stately church. The annual celebration involves the entire community but we are offered a special tour by one of Father Hidalgo's descendants.

Peru: People of the Altiplano

Episode #110H · Indians outnumber non-Indians in the Peruvian highlands. Many of them, in cities such as Ayacucho, Huancavelica, and Huancayo and hosts of villages continue to farm and produce handicrafts much as their ancestors did hundreds of years ago. Now they use cell phones and the Internet, but their native dress and languages and their nearness to the soil help them maintain their identity as a people apart. Host Dave Yetman meets Quechua people and learns from them about their fascinating past and present.

Peru: People of the Altiplano

Episode #110 · Indians outnumber non-Indians in the Peruvian highlands. Many of them, in cities such as Ayacucho, Huancavelica, and Huancayo and hosts of villages continue to farm and produce handicrafts much as their ancestors did hundreds of years ago. Now they use cell phones and the Internet, but their native dress and languages and their nearness to the soil help them maintain their identity as a people apart. Host Dave Yetman meets Quechua people and learns from them about their fascinating past and present.

Tultepec: Mexico's Skyrocket Central

Episode #201H · The small city of Tultepec, a suburb of Mexico City, specializes in the production of fireworks, supplying much of the country known for fireworks in its festivals. In March of each year Tultepec celebrates with dazzling, flamboyant, and hazardous displays of fireworks that wildly exceed any other in Mexico.

In The Shadow of the Volcanoes: Chile's Melting Pot

Episode #202H · Southern Chile is a land of forests, rivers, lakes, and volcanoes. It is also home to Native American and immigrant communities. We visit Mapuche Indians and German and Italian immigrant communities and the vast landscapes they inhabit.

The Rainforest Nisei: Japanese Immigrants in the Amazon

Episode #203H · In the early 1920s, a small group of Japanese peasants received a land grant deep in the vast forests of the Amazon. Today their descendents have become prosperous farmers, raising tropical crops and pepper, all the while protecting large tracts of primary tropical forest.

Two Millennia of Mayas: Guatemala's Cultural Legacy

Episode #204H · Archaeologists have only recently begun to restore the important Maya city of Ceibal, situated along the Passion River deep in the Peten forest of Guatemala. We travel to the site with scientists directing the latest excavations and visit the homes of the Maya workers who are restoring the site.

Ice, Rock, and Water: The Sierra Nevada

Episode #205H · California's Sierra Nevada is the largest and highest mountain range in the continental United States and, until recently, a geological puzzle. The source of colossal wealth in the form of gold and, now, water, it was a formidable roadblock to settlement of the state. Wevisit the range with renowned tectonic specialist Eldridge Moores.

Fiesta in the YucatAN: Maya Traditions

Episode #206H · Each year on January 6, pilgrims travel to the ancient Maya city of Tizimin in the Yucatan peninsula to celebrate Epiphany. The festival of the Day of the Kings combines pre-Columbian and modern themes, all of them gilded with the touch of the Mayas.

Panama: A City and a Canal

Episode #207H · Panama City has been a pivotal shipping port for hundreds of years-over water and over land. Today it has become an economic powerhouse, the Hong Kong of the Americas, thanks to its booming canal. But the canal cannot function without the services provided by the huge rainforest that envelopes it.

Bahia: Brazil's African Connection

Episode #208H · African-Brazilians provided Brazil with internationally renowned cultural symbols: samba and carnival. The center of African-Brazilian culture is the city of Salvador in the state of Bahia. Its connection to Africa-physical and cultural--helps us to understand the distinct cultural and culinary contributions from this vibrant repository of African influence, and to recognize the heritage of slavery.

Winter in the Caldera: January in the Yellowstone Hotspot

Episode #209H · Yellowstone National Park is our first, and one of the most visited national parks. In winter, access is limited, and visitors and wildlife are challenged by deep snow and fierce cold. The frozen landscape is utterly transformed from summertime, and its explosive potential is even more evident.

Whistles in the Mist: Whistled Speech In Oaxaca

Episode #210H · The Chinantecan people of mountainous northern Oaxaca, Mexico, speak by whistling as well as by talking. We visit their isolated community and see for ourselves how they use whistled speech to supplement-and sometimes replace-spoken speech.

Abc Islands: The Dutch Legacy in the Caribbean

Episode #301H · The last vestiges of the once-mighty Dutch empire live on in the Caribbean islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao. David visits Curacao, now independent, and wanders the streets of Willemstad, its capital city. In its colonial buildings, he finds hints of a past glory made possible by the slave trade. In Bonaire, still a colony, he dons Scuba gear to mingle with its incomparable marine life. Then, he witnesses the extraction of tons of salt from Bonaire's tidal flats. Finally, David treks into a national park home to dense groves of tall cacti, hordes of lizards and tranquil flamingos.

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