Terry Jones is an enrolled member of the Seneca Nation of Indians. He grew up on the Cattaraugus Indian Reservation located in Western New York. At age 15, he started attending summer enrichment programs offered through the Johnson O'Malley Program. It was in these summer programs that Terry was introduced to photography, script writing and film making. Throughout Terry’s adult life he has continually documented reservation life through photography and video. Terry has completed two short films entitled Through the Eyes of Clint and What the Hell is Corn Soup?
Through the Eyes of Clint is a first person account of reservation life from the point of view of Terry’s younger teenage brother, Clint. Clint discusses the racism and cultural differences he faced while attending the Gowanda Central School District near the Seneca Nation. Clint and other Indian children were bussed from the Seneca Territory to a near-by white school district where Indians got their first experience of non-Indian society.
What the Hell is Corn Soup? is a short film documenting the preparation of the traditional Seneca corn soup. Ingredients include dried white corn, wood ashes, kidney beans and salt pork. It’s an arduous task to prepare this Seneca delicacy because it takes over 12 hours to prepare. It is not uncommon for Terry to host a couple corn soup parties a year where his guests are able to screen the film and taste the soup. There’s a reason why this soup’s ingredients and preparation have remained unchanged for the last 200 years.
Terry's most recent film is a full-feature documentary entitled Casino Nation. Scheduled for broadcast in late 2005/early 2006, the film documents the Seneca Nation of Indians as they open two Las Vegas-style casinos, one in Niagara Falls, New York and the other on their Allegany territory. This film highlights the impact of sudden prosperity on this small sovereign nation. Will the distinctive culture and identity of these native people be able to withstand the onslaught of American culture’s promise of big and easy money? The film explores these and other issues facing the Senecas during this critical time of sweeping change. Casino Nation is partially funded by Native American Public Telecommunications (NAPT) and the Eva and Lucius Eastman Fund. More information may be found at www.casinonation.net/.