Celebrate Nation American Heritage Month featuring a film screening with Terry Jones, VPA ’16, Seneca Filmmaker

The Blackstone LaunchPad, in collaboration with the Native Student Program in the Office of Multicultural Affairs, will host SU alum Terry Jones ’16 (VPA), Haudenosaunee filmmaker and creative entrepreneur, to screen his most recent short film, “Savage/Future” and share his creative process and journey. The event, from 4:15 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. on November 9 in the Peter Graham Scholarly Commons, Room 114, Bird Library, is open to all.

Terry, Seneca Wolf Clan, is the founder of TornJersey Media and has a passion for sharing his Haudenosaunee history and culture through his film and video works, gaming, VR projects and acting. He strives to find a balance between entertaining and educating his audiences.

He graduated from Syracuse’s College of Visual and Performing Arts in film in 2016 and he is currently pursuing an MFA in film at York University in Toronto.

The event, in celebration of Native Heritage Month, is being curated and organized by Ethan Tyo ’17 (iSchool) G ’22 (Falk) who is this year’s Blackstone LaunchPad’s Todd B. Rubin Diversity and Inclusion Scholar at SU Libraries. It is part of an initiative to expand opportunities and engagements with student entrepreneurs and the broader university community. Ethan, Mohawk Wolf Clan, has been working with the Native Student Program on a series of events incorporating Haudenosaunee knowledge and foodways into academic programming through collaborative experiential events.

Ethan grew up on the Mohawk reservation of Akwesasne, and as a Syracuse student, came to re-appreciate the rich and long-established cultural traditions of the Mohawk people to plan, harvest, and prepare their food from the earth. As an undergraduate he published his first cookbook, building on his interests in food and lifestyle have been with him for a long time.

That led to Ethan re-engaging with his heritage, creating a traditional Three Sisters Garden installation at Pete’s Giving Garden,as a collaboration between Hendricks and Sustainability Management.

Pete’s Giving Garden returned Onondaga seeds to ancestral land for the first time in SU’s history, and was also Ethan’s culmination of the graduate practicum for his food studies degree. He recognized an opportunity to grow food not only in a sustainable manner, but in a way that honors the traditions and culture of the Onondaga Nation, firekeepers of the Haudenosaunee, the Indigenous people on whose ancestral lands Syracuse University now stands. “The ‘three sisters’–corn, beans, and squash—are foundational foods that gave rise to the strength and resilience of the Haudenosaunee people.

This led him to curating this event with Terry which will also feature traditional food and drink paired with two short films on November 9 – SAVAGE FUTURE and the moving documentary, Soup for My Brother.

Terry’s films have screened worldwide and have won several festival awards including “Soup for My Brother” which earned best documentary at the 2016 Liverpool International Film Festival in the United Kingdom. In 2020, he completed the Open Immersion II – Creative Doc VR Lab which was produced by the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) and in partnership with the Canadian Film Centre and imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, supported by the Ford Foundation. In 2021, he was part of a gaming team that was awarded BEST CONCEPT at imagineNATIVE’s Land Jam+, a game jam made for and by Indigenous creatives where participants from different disciplines work in collaborative teams to create video games and interactive media from scratch.

During the summer of 2022, Terry made his stage debut as an actor in Tuscarora playwright Vicki Ramirez’ stage play Pure Native in San Francisco. The play is being produced by AlterTheater which is based in the city San Rafael, CA. Most recently, he was the curator and host of the Haudenosaunee Micro-Short Film Program, which screened at the Burchfield Penney Art Center in Buffalo, New York in September. The program featured 14 micro-short films by Haudenosaunee filmmakers.

Terry is a true filmmaker, educator, and storyteller empowering future Indigenous creative entrepreneurs by leading with his values, community, and culture.

Please join us in celebrating Native American Heritage Month and taking a journey with an awarding winning VPA alum who produces poetic and poignant short-form stories that look at Indigenous life in a modern world.

Story by Ethan Tyo and LaunchPad staff; photos supplied.