Adirondack Mountain Productions (AMP) of Old Forge has started the process of making a documentary film that tells the true story of the occupation at Moss Lake from 1974 to 1977 by New York traditional Mohawk Indians.
The story of the occupation includes the shooting and injury of a local man, Stephen “Gus” Drake, and nine-year-old girl, Aprile Madigan, and the long period of negotiation that ended in a peaceful resolution and relocation of the Mohawks.
AMP, which is doing the project pro bono, has produced a trailer and is now seeking funds to complete a full-length documentary. The trailer is posted on Kickstarter, a web-based fundraising site where individuals can support independent projects.
“It is a fascinating story and like most true stories, unless it is documented it can suffer the death of being forgotten,” said Ximena Gardner of AMP.
The goal is to raise $38,750 over 40 days. Part of these funds will go to securing original footage at the NBC archives in New York City that will be included in the documentary.
To see a trailer for the film and donate to the project go to www.kickstarter.com/projects/684068063/documentary-of-indian-givers-true-story-of-moss-la.
Ximena and Kurt Gardner who have been in the business of tv and photo production for over 18 years and are the owners of AMP, decided to produce the film spurred by communication with coauthors of the 2010 book Indian Givers: The True Story of Moss Lake.
The book was written by Romey Gallo and Wayne Martin, two New York State Troopers at the time of the incidents, and gives their perspective on the events that transpired.
While the documentary is based on the book, the Gardners also wanted to include the Mohawk version of events including “who they are and why they came” to the Moss Lake location Ximena said.
“The only way we would do it is if we had the Indian side of the story,” Kurt added.
With the help of John Karhiio Kane, a Mohawk Indian and radio personality from Buffalo NY, AMP was able to meet and interview two key people within the Mohawk Warrior community.
Those two individuals, Paul Delaronde (Tekarontakeh) and Art Montour (Kakwirakeron) were instrumental in the planning and occupation of Moss Lake.
Also interviewed for the trailer were Gallo and Martin, as well as Drake and Madigan.
“It was a time of fear for some, anger for others and even hatred, but there was also understanding, compassion and sympathy. It would be great to tell all sides of this fascinating true story,” said Ximena.
The deadline for receiving funds for the project is Monday, November 18, 2013.