Cat Ashworth > Work > House of Peace


Producer: G. Peter Jemison
Director: Cathleen Ashworth
Length: 30 minutes
Production Format: DVCam, mastered on D2 (betacam copy available)
Genre:   Educational Documentary
Completion Date: 1999

House of Peace tells the story of the 1687 attack by the French against the Seneca town of Ganondagan. It explains the political and economic factors that lead to the attack as well as the Seneca Nation's response to the invasion. It tells the story from the point of view of the Seneca, who bravely defended their town. The viewer will gain a greater understanding of the complexity of the beaver trade and the importance of the trade to the early Dutch, English and French colonists.

The location of the revered town of Ganondagan is now a New York State Historic Site near Rochester, New York. The hilltop town, where once 150 Seneca longhouses stood, recently built a reproduction of a traditional Seneca longhouse. House of Peace documents the building of the new bark longhouse and explains the importance of the longhouse as both a place to live and as a symbol of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy. By experiencing the inside of a longhouse, the viewer can begin to imagine how the Seneca lived in the 17 th century. Although House of Peace tells the story of a past event and way of life, it also documents the present day vibrant Seneca culture through their stories, songs, and dances.

Cathleen Ashworth directed, shot, and edited House of Peace. She worked with a Seneca producer, Pete Jemison, and a Seneca writer Calle Martin, to develop a product that told the story of Ganondagan from a Seneca perspective.

The video was funded by Friends of Ganondagan, who raised funds through private donations and grants and who distribute the finished video in an education package that includes a study guide. House of Peace is also on permanent display in the Visitor Center at Ganondagan in Victor, NY.

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House of Peace (Quicktime, 9.4 MB)



2001: 43rd Rochester International Film Festival, George Eastman House,   Rochester, NY , Certificate of Merit

2000: Native American Film and Video Festival 2000, Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, New York,   NY, purchased for the Smithsonian Collections

2000: Native American Film and Video Festival 2000, Hamburg, NY

2000: First Peoples' Festival 2000,   National Film Board of Canada,   Montreal, Canada

1999: 24th Annual American Indian Film Festival, American Indian Film Institute, San Francisco, CA

Ganondagan State Historic Site, Visitor Center, Victor, NY, on permanent display


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