Film shows how Indigenous women influenced suffrage movement
SARANAC LAKE — The community is invited to learn the untold story of how Indigenous women influenced early suffragists in their fight for freedom and equality through a virtual screening of a new documentary film by Akwesasne resident Katsitsionni Fox.
North Country Community College, Paul Smith’s College and the Zonta Club of the Adirondacks are co-sponsoring a free screening of “Without a Whisper — Konnon:Kwe,” which will be available for viewing Nov. 9 to 15. A question-and-answer session with the filmmaker will take place Nov. 12 at 7 p.m.
Before the first women’s rights convention in Seneca Falls in 1848, European colonial women lacked even the most basic rights, while Haudenosaunee women had a potent political and spiritual voice and authority in all aspects of their lives. The contact that the early suffragists had with Haudenosaunee women in New York state shaped their thinking and had a vital impact on their struggle for equality that is taken for granted today.
“Without a Whisper — Konnon:Kwe” follows Mohawk Bear Clan Mother Louise Herne and professor Sally Roesch Wagner as they seek to correct the historical narrative about the origins of women’s rights in the United States.
After the screening, a copy of the film will remain part of the NCCC library digital collection.
This is the latest in a series of film screenings and presentations NCCC and its partners have organized this fall to shine light on the history, traditions and challenges faced by the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe at Akwesasne and Indigenous peoples in general. The college will host a panel discussion on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Akwesasne on Oct. 29 at 7 p.m. on Zoom. To register for that event, visit www.nccc.edu/live.
Fox has been making films since 2003 in the Mohawk territory of Akwesasne, where she resides. Her film “Ohero:kon — Under the Husk,” following the journey of two Mohawk girls as they take part in their traditional passage rites to becoming Mohawk Women, received funding from Vision Maker Media and was broadcast on many PBS stations. Katsitsionni received the Jane Glassco Award for Emerging Filmmaker at the imagineNATIVE Film Festival in 2016 as well as the Achievement in Documentary Filmmaking Award at LA Skins Fest in 2016. She produced a series of 12 short segments for “Rematriation,” a Native American women’s online, multi-media magazine, that is focused on healing and empowerment of Native women through the sharing of their stories and successes. “Without a Whisper” is her latest documentary.