Pitts-Bradford to Preview PBS Documentary “Lake of Betrayal”

Allegheny National Forest Visitors BureauBRADFORD, PA – November 1, 2017 – The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford will show a preview of the documentary film “Lake of Betrayal,” which will air on PBS stations nationwide this month.

The film about the building of the Kinzua Dam will be shown at noon Nov. 8 in the Bromeley Family Theater in Blaisdell Hall.

Prior to the showing of the film, at 11:40 am, producers Paul Lamont, Caleb Adams and Scott Sackett will discuss their approach to documentary filmmaking and some of the challenges faced in making the film. The event is sponsored by the Broadcast Communications Program and the Division of Communication and the Arts.

Lamont, the film’s director, says, “‘Lake of Betrayal’ looks at how Kinzua Dam so drastically affected the Senecas’ way of life, and it examines the hidden agenda and political debts behind the United States government’s abrogation of the Canandaigua Treaty of 1794 which had guaranteed the Seneca Nation the free use and enjoyment of its lands, forever.

The creation of the Allegheny Reservoir in 1965 forced the removal of more than 130 Seneca families from their homes and properties.

Lamont adds that not only is the film timely, it was important to capture the stories of those who can recall life before the dam was built. “Seneca elders speak of Kinzua through a raw mixture of anger and tears,” he says, “and with each generation, the memory fades a little more as countless younger Seneca feel little or no connection to the profound sense of loss that their elders felt.”

Sackett says, “We wanted to preserve this defining moment in Seneca history, as told by those who experienced it, before their stories were lost.” Sackett recalled the response one young Seneca had after seeing “Lake of Betrayal” at a recent screening on the Seneca Nation’s Allegany Territory.

“He told Paul and me that he had heard about Kinzua Dam, but the elders rarely spoke of it and it really didn’t mean much to him; he said he couldn’t really relate until he saw our film. Tears began to well up and he just thanked us, saying now he understands.”

Lamont, says, “The tragedy of Kinzua is not simply that the United States broke its promise to the Seneca Nation, but that there is a genuine concern that without vigilance, something like his could happen again to threaten Seneca sovereignty.”