SALAMANCA, N.Y. — For fans of the show "Dexter," you are probably aware that the new season, "Dexter: New Blood," sees the main character trading the beaches of Miami for the cold and snow of Western New York.
After 10 years presumed dead, the serial killer with a moral compass reemerges with a new identity along Seneca land. The producers got a lot of help from the Seneca Nation to try and get it right.
Showtime's "Dexter: New Blood" is set in a made up town, bordering a very real place.
"(It is) based on the location of this fictional town, Iron Lake, they started doing research on what native communities might be nearby such a town. That's how they settled on the Seneca Nation," said Seneca filmmaker Caleb Abrams who was signed on as a technical advisor.
The show is set with the backdrop of the Seneca Nation, and while the producers did research on their own, they got to a point in the script where they had to bring in some experts, enter Abrams.
Abrams says there is a lot of pressure that comes with the task of portraying the Nation in a sensitive and accurate way. Abrams said he tried to make the show as genuine as possible, including actual Seneca jewelry and symbolism used throughout.
"The ability to finally exhale when I saw the finished product and began to hear back from people in the community or hear them say 'hey, that was great'... 'I saw the bracelet,' 'I heard Sheldon's song,' I heard this or that."
Now, the Nation's inclusion in the show will help preserve Haudenosaunee history.
As a thank you, Showtime gifted $100,000 to the Seneca-Iroquois National Museum. They approached director Joe Stahlman about how to best use the funding. His first thought was an educational film festival, but Stahlman says Showtime wanted to do something more meaningful and lasting. That is when he mentioned his ongoing struggle to digitize archives and other materials in their collection.
"Audio, video, newscasts, stuff that people just took for themselves using their VHS during the 1980's. We have a lot of this material and most of us haven't looked at it because we don't have the means to do so. So it is just collecting dust," Stahlman said.
Stahlman says the grant will allow the museum to buy the equipment needed to transfer several media formats to digital files, and improve their cultural center.
"That was an idea that Showtime really latched onto, the idea of digitizing film and audio as a way of preserving community and culture," he said.
So, while Iron Lake may be fictional, this money is very real, and will make a real difference in preserving the actual history of the Seneca Nation.