On Thursday and Friday, February 22 and 23, 2024, the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne’s (MCA) Land-Based Healing Program, in collaboration with Akwesasne Child & Family Services, and Netflix, planned two special screenings for the community Akwesasne for Episode 1 of the new series, Avatar: The Last Airbender at the Port Theatre. Akwesasronon actress Kiawentiio, who is a main cast member and plays the role of “Katara,” also made a special appearance at the screenings.
The first screening was held for Mohawk immersion students from the Akwesasne Freedom School, Kana:takon School, and Tsiakwawennatónhe’ts School. Kiawentiio was a Mohawk immersion school student herself, having attended the Freedom School, and wanted to give back to the Mohawk language programs through the special screening. The students all cheered for Kiawentiio as she came on stage to introduce the episode. Kiawentiio told the students she was just like them, and was raised just like them, immersed in Mohawk language, and she became teary-eyed while looking back at the young fans who listened intently at Akwesasne’s newest star.
On the following night, over 200 community members were in attendance for the public screening. The evening was hosted by 97.3 CKON Radio’s Reen Cook, who welcomed the crowd and led a brief Q&A with Kiawentiio prior to the screening. Kiawentiio’s mother, Barbara Tarbell, also came on stage to thank the community for all their support.
Akwesasne is very excited to share in the celebration of Kiawentiio’s success and we wish to thank her for inspiring our youth to follow their dreams. Also, thank you to her family for helping to bring the screening to our community. We encourage anyone who couldn’t attend to catch Kiawentiio on Netflix. Avatar: The Last Airbender is now streaming.
We’d also like to thank the following programs, services, and individuals for their assistance in planning this special occasion for the community of Akwesasne:
• MCA Land-Based Healing Program
• MCA Department of Health
• MCA Communications Unit
Akwesasne Child & Family Services
• Netflix: Lindsey Scully and Lauren DeRush
The Port Theatre: Larry Sylvain and family
Akwesasne Mohawk Police Service (AMPS)
Cornwall Police Service
• Reen Cook
• Security Team: Andrew Lazore, Cst. Norm King, Cst. RJ Swamp, Cst. Kahetonni Mitchell
• The family of Kiawentiio, Corey and Barbara Tarbell
Congratulations to Kiawentiio and we look forward to watching her on many more projects!