Lake of Betrayal (Distributed to PBS stations nationwide through National Educational Telecommunications Association)

Released: 10/28/2017

Lake of Betrayal (Distributed to PBS stations nationwide through National Educational Telecommunications Association)

Order Lake of Betrayal on DVD

Kinzua Dam, on the Allegheny River in Pennsylvania, was a flashpoint in history for the Seneca Nation of Indians. Completed in 1965, the dam was originally proposed to help mitigate flooding in Pittsburgh, almost 200 miles downriver, but the 27-mile reservoir that formed behind Kinzua Dam inundated vast tracts of the Seneca Indians’ ancestral lands, forcing their removal in breach of the United States’ oldest treaty then in effect.  Set against a backdrop of a federal Indian termination policy, pork-barrel politics, and undisclosed plans for private hydropower during the post WWII boom, Lake of Betrayal reveals an untold story from American history—a one-sided battle pitting an impoverished Native American nation against some of the strongest political, social and commercial forces in the country as they fought to protect their sovereignty. And although the imposed changes resulting from the dam cost the Seneca irreplaceable cultural losses, the Kinzua crisis became a turning point to more aggressively protect and exercise their sovereignty and build a stronger Seneca Nation. Production for Lake of Betrayal began in 2014. The film was released to PBS stations nationwide in November, 2017.

This program is produced by Toward Castle Films and Skipping Stone Pictures and is a presentation of Vision Maker Media with major funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

The producers also gratefully acknowledge the generosity of the following individual donors:

Dorrance Amorine


Lee Bennett

Donna Bentkowski

Sally Brozell

Becky Burns

Bradley Kemick

Justin Laing

Deborah Lanni

Christopher Leonard

Donielle Lovell – In Memory of David G. Heron

Rebecca Lyon

Joseph Mangione

Carol Nephew

Ralph Panaro

Regina Parot

Linda Rabineau

Keith Reed

Tanya Reuscher

Dereka Rushbrook



Lake of Betrayal Screenings

September 29 & 30 2017 Ray Evans Theater Salamanca, NY; October 6, 2017 Struthers Library Theatre Warren, PA; October 13 2017 Seneca Nation Cattaraugus Community Center Cattaraugus, NY; October 19, 2017 St. Bonaventure University Allegany, NY; October 26th, 2017 Burchfield Penny Art Center/Buffalo State College Buffalo, NY; November 2, 2017 Syracuse University Syracuse, NY; November 6, 2017 Lake Shore High School Cattaraugus, NY; November 8, 2017 University of Pittsburgh at Bradford Bradford, PA; November 9, 2017 Fredonia University Fredonia, NY; November 13, 2017 Salamanca High School Salamanca, NY; November 15, 2017 Geneseo University Riviera Theatre Geneseo, NY; December 7, 2017 Edinboro University Edinboro, PA; December 28, 2017 Seneca Nation Allegany Community Center Allegany, NY; January 6, 2018 Nichols School Buffalo, NY; January 15, 2018 Niagara University Niagara Falls, NY; February 7, 2018 University of Rochester Rochester, NY; March 3, 2018 Allegheny Outfitters Allegheny, NY; March 11, 2018 Drake Well Museum and Park, Titusville, PA; March 18, 2018 Trinity Memorial Episcopal Church, Warren, PA; April 10, 2018 Purdue University West Lafayette, Indiana; May 9, 2018 Tuscarora Reservation; June 20, 2018 Six Nations of the Grand River, Ontario, Canada; June 22, 2018 Seneca Niagara Casino; July 27, 2018 Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino; August 6, 2018 Seneca Allegany Casino and Resort; August 17, 2018 Scandia Community Center, Elk Township, Pennsylvania; September 22, 2018 Government Appointed Historians of Western New York, Salamanca, NY; October 9, 2018 United South and Eastern Tribes Conference, Niagara Falls, New York; October 10, 2018 Land Trust Alliance National Rally Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, November 7, 2018, Jamestown Community College, Jamestown, New York; November 13, 2018, Vertias Film Festival; Philipsburg, PA; November 13, 2018  Edinboroh University, Edinboro, Pennsylvania; March 23, 2019 Row House Cinema, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; November 4, 2019, Los Angeles county Library, Huntington Park, CA;  November 14, 2019 State University of New York at Buffalo; November 18, 2019 Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, Kentucky; November 18, 2019 University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, Pennsylvania; November 19, 2019 Michigan State University College of Law, East Lansing, Michigan; November 19, 2019 Lone Star College, The Woodlands, TX; November 20, 2019 Mercyhurst University, Erie, Pennsylvania; April 19-26, 2021 Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania