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© Toward Castle Films
Written, Produced and Directed by
Director of Photography
Edited by Chris Bové
On Seneca Nation Territory, the Allegheny River widens into an expansive man-made lake that stretches 24 miles through the foothills across the New York State border into Pennsylvania. It was created in 1965 when the Kinzua Dam in Warren, Pennsylvania was built to protect the City of Pittsburgh from floods that had ravaged the area for decades.
Before construction on the dam could begin, the federal government and the US Army Corp of Engineers had to force the removal of people living along the river and take their lands. But the Canandaigua Treaty of 1794, one of the first accords signed by the US government, had preserved much of the land needed for the project for the Senecas. Despite a decade of court battles and an alternate flood-control plan, the Army Corps of Engineers took one-third of the Seneca Territory in breach of the Treaty.
Ten thousand acres of hunting and fishing grounds were inundated and homes, churches, schools, and burial grounds were lost, forever altering the Seneca way of life.
Lake of Betrayal tells the story of loss, displacement, hope and survival as the film explores the effects on the Seneca Nation resulting from the construction of Kinzua Dam while exploring their current efforts to assume hydropower operations of Kinzua.
LAKE OF BETRAYAL