Celebrate Native Heritage Month With ‘Savage/Future,’ a Film Screening With Terry Jones ’16

The Blackstone LaunchPad, in collaboration with the Native Student Program in the Office of Multicultural Affairs, will host alumnus Terry Jones ’16, a Haudenosaunee filmmaker and creative entrepreneur, to screen his most recent short film, “Savage/Future” and share his creative process and journey. The event will be held 4:15-5:30 pm on Wednesday, Nov. 9, in the Peter Graham Scholarly Commons, Room 114, Bird Library, and is open to all.

Jones, of the 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, virtual reality projects and acting, finding a balance between entertaining and educating his audiences.

He graduated from the College of Visual and Performing Arts with a bachelor’s degree in film, 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, G’22, who earned a bachelor’s degree from the School of Information Studies and a graduate degree from the Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics. He is this year’s Blackstone LaunchPad’s Todd B. Rubin Diversity and Inclusion Scholar at Syracuse University Libraries. It is part of an initiative to expand opportunities and engagements with student entrepreneurs and the broader university community. Tyo, of the 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.

Tyo 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, he says. As an undergraduate he published his first cookbook, building on his interests in food and lifestyle have been with him for a long time.

The cookbook led to Tyo reengaging with his heritage, establishing a traditional Three Sisters Garden at Pete’s Giving Garden and returning Onondaga seeds to ancestral land for the first time in Syracuse University’s history. The garden was the culmination of the graduate practicum for his graduate food studies degree. Tyo 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 Jones, which will also feature traditional food and drink paired with two short films on Nov. 9: “Savage Future” and documentary “Soup for My Brother.”

Jones’ 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 and in partnership with the Canadian Film Center 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, Jones 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 San Rafael, California. 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.

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

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