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Spirit Bear: The Simon Jackson Story / The Song of Hiawatha

Ed Begley Jr. , Graham Greene  |  Unrated |  DVD

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Simon Jackson is an awkward 15-year-old who lives on a planet light years away from the ""in"" crowd—until a life changing moment. Attacked in the British Columbia wilderness, Simon is rescued by a rare white Kermode bear. When he learns these magnificent creatures are endangered, that only 400 are in existence in a small area of northern BC, Simon turns from shy, stuttering daydreamer to political activist. Mustering his courage, he takes on the powerful forest industry and the provincial government, eventually rallying everyone from Prince William to the Backstreet Boys. Simon ultimately secures the protection of 2500 square miles of Princess Royal Island—one of the largest land protection battles ever won—and is named one of Time Magazine's ""Heroes for the Planet.""

""A Gold NAAPA Winner. A program sponsored by United Parenting Publications, Inc. and promoted in association with parenting publishers across the United States.""

This adaptation of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's beloved epic poem, ""The Song of Hiawatha,"" celebrates the heroic deeds of the legendary Ojibway chief of miraculous birth, sent by the Great Spirit to lead his people.

Fur trader Jean Bertrand (Michael Rooker), French priest Father Marcel (David Strathairn) and Indian interpreter O Kagh (Graham Greene) canoe through the Lake Superior region in search of Hiawatha. Tribesmen guide them to the lodge of his grandmother, Nokomis (Sheila Tousey), where she and tribal elder Iagoo (Gordon Tootoosis) tell Hiawatha's story.

He was a child of wonder, they say, favored by the spirits and gods, and grew to be a great warrior and hunterfast, strong and smart in the ways of the forest, men and war. When his father Mudjekeewis (Russell Means) left to take his place among the immortals in the Kingdom of the West Wind, Hiawatha's mother died of a broken heart.

To avenge her, Hiawatha (Litefoot) sought out his father for a conflict that ended in Mudjekeewis's death. On the warrior's return, he was smitten by the beautiful Dakota maiden, Minnehaha, ""Laughing Water"" (Irene Bedard), and persuaded her to be his wife.

Now, through an emissary from the spirit world, Hiawatha has learned the secret of growing corn. This lets his people establish permanent dwellings and lead a settled and more secure life. But there is an enemy among his own people—an ambitious warrior who envies Hiawatha's fame and the beauty of his wife.

When sickness falls upon the tribe, Hiawatha goes to the Black Swamp to fight and destroy Pearl Feather, the evil magician, and bring back the medicine that will heal his people. But neither his daring nor the power of his love can save his cherished Minnehaha, who dies of a fever.

A terrible vision reveals to Hiawatha the bleak future of the warring tribes, driven from the lands by the advancing whitesmen like the trader, who would barter tin pots and guns for the Indians' wealth of furs and land.

At a council of tribal leaders, he shares with them the Great Spirit's message: there is strength for the Indians only if there is peace among the tribes. They must unite, one nation. A single arrow is easily broken, but many arrows together are strong.

Then, as his destiny commands, Hiawatha lets the river's current carry him in his canoe away from his people to join the immortals in the West.

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