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Groundbreaking Film “The Good Mind” Screens at Ganondagan

April 8, 2017 @ 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm



Haudenosaun(Iroquois) philosophy and way of life translates into environmental advocacy and ancestral land rights

Victor, NY—On Saturday, April 8, Friends of Ganondagan will screen the powerful documentary film, The Good Mind, to share this important concept and how it relates to ancestral land rights and environmental stewardship. Following the screening will be a discussion with filmmaker Gwendolen Cates and Onondaga Clan Mother Freida Jacques.

The concept of the Good Mind encourages active awareness of thoughts and intentions, resulting in more kind and loving thoughts that are spiritually in tune with the Creator’s wishes. The documentary asks a question posed by Oren Lyons—traditional Faithkeeper of the Turtle Clan of the Onondaga Nation and international environmental activist: “How do you instruct seven billion people as to their relationship to the earth?” The film follows Onondaga Nation leaders as they continue the efforts of their ancestors to protect their sovereignty and culture, seek justice for the wrongs done to their traditional lands, and work to prevent further harm.

The Onondaga Nation, a sovereign indigenous government and part of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy, follows the Great Law of Peace. When the Peacemaker brought his message 1,000 years ago to the shores of sacred Onondaga Lake, he united warring peoples with a system of governance based on using the Good Mind to make decisions not only for the present, but for the next seven generations.

In addition to inspiring American democracy, the Onondagas and all Haudenosaunee nations advocate for the environment and share prophecies about climate change. But the Onondagas are also engaged in a battle with the New York State over ancestral lands stolen in defiance of a treaty with George Washington, who wrote: “No state, nor person, can purchase your lands, unless at some public treaty, held under the authority of the United States. The General Government will never consent to your being defrauded, but will protect you in all your just rights.”

“The idea of the power of the Good Mind comes from our Great Law,” says Ganondagan State Historic Site Manager Peter Jemison. “In our Great Law we place emphasis on people using the power of the Good Mind when they make decisions for the benefit of the present and future generations. Gwendolen Cates has captured our view of the important ideas that we are confronting today: our sovereignty, the concern for the environment, and the concern that our way of life continues into the future. And so as people speak to their ideas, in the process, they illustrate the power of the Good Mind.”

New York City-based filmmaker Gwendolen Cates started as a photographer, capturing images of countless public figures from Rosa Parks to George Clooney. Her critically acclaimed book, Indian Country, inspired Oprah’s series about Native Americans. Her award-winning first feature documentaryWater Flowing Together about Jock Soto, renowned Navajo-Puerto Rican principal dancer with the New York City Ballet, was nationally broadcast on PBS’ Independent Lens. Gwendolen’s first collaboration with the Onondaga Nation was the award-winning short film Guswenta, about the first treaty between indigenous people and European settlers. Her current film project is about the genocide of Yezidis and other indigenous Iraqi minorities.

Tickets for the film are $10 and can be purchased online at http://bit.ly/2mOnQz6 or by phone: (585) 742-1690. The event begins at 1:00 pm and the film starts promptly at 1:30. Limited seating may be available for day of ticket purchase.


April 8, 2017
1:00 pm - 4:00 pm