Ohero:Kon / Under the Husk 2016
Distributed by Women Make Movies, 115 W. 29th Street, Suite 1200,New York, NY, 10001; 212-925-0606
Directed by Katsitsionni Fox
DVD, color, 88 min.
Adolescence, Diversity, Education, Growth and Development, Language, Native Americans, Native Peoples
Date Entered: 06/26/2018Reviewed by Linda Frederiksen, Washington State University, Vancouver, WA
In this brief but powerful film, Fox profiles two young women from the Mohawk community of Akwesasne in upper New York state. Kasennakohe and Kaienkwinehtha have known each other since childhood. After completing public high school, the two friends join 12 other youths from their traditional community to participate in a rigorous rites of passage ceremony.
Known as Ohero:Kon, the multi-year commitment is, for both, a form of rematriation, when each learns to claim her own history, voice, and identity as a woman. During the initiation period, young people learn from elders (or aunts and uncles) in the community ancient ceremonials, rituals, and teachings related to health, culture, environment, and language. At the end of this period, the nieces and nephews undergo an isolated ritual fast that leads to a community feast celebrating an individual’s journey and growth. Of the 12 young people who began the ceremony, only 3 finish. The film ends by catching up with Kasennakohe and Kaienkwinehtha two years later.
The filmmaker, who lives and work in Akwesasne is an artisit, curator, and educator. In addition through participating in Ohero:Kon herself, she now serves as a mentor to other young people. The film effectively captures the meaning and power of culture and tradition for native peoples. Highly recommended for sociology and anthropology programs.