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Chief Dan George.
Chief Dan George was born July 24th 1899 on The Burrard Indian Reservation No. 3, North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada,the son of a tribal chief. His birth name Geswanouth Slahoot was anglicized as Dan Slaholt. At the age of 5, his surname was changed to George, when he entered a mission boarding school, where the use of his native language was discouraged, if not forbidden.
He worked in a variety of jobs including a longshoreman, construction worker and school bus driver, and was band chief of "The Tsleil- Waututh Nation" from 1951-1963 (elected leader,as opposed to hereditary)
In 1960 at the age of 60, he landed his first acting job in a CBS TV series "Cariboo County" as the character "Ol' Antoine". He performed the same role in a Disney adaptation of one of the episodes "Smith".
At the age of 71, he won several awards for his part in the film "Little Big Man" (1970), including a nomination for the "Acadamy Award For Best Supporting Actor"
Little Big Man with Dustin Hoffman.
Other films included "The Outlaw Josey Wales" with Clint Eastwood, "Harry and Tonto" and "Americathon".
Various TV guest appearances included "Kung Fu", "The Incredible Hulk", the mini-series "Centennial", "The High Chaparral" and "Bonanza."
Caps from Warbonnet
In the Bonanza episode "Warbonnet" (Season 13), George plays "Red Cloud", a Piaute chief who comes to claim back his head dress which is hanging as a trophy on the wall of a saloon. Little Joe gets caught up in the middle of a conflict between Red Cloud and a town elder.
Besides TV and Movies, George was also a successful stage actor, and appeared in "The Ectasy Of Rita Joe" in 1967.
Chief Dan George became an influential speaker on the rights of the native peoples of North America. In 1971, he was made an officer of "The Order Of Canada", and in 2008, Canada Post issued a postage stamp in its "Canadians In Hollywood" Series, featuring Chief Dan George.
Postage Stamp of Chief Dan George.
He was also a successful poet and wrote two books of poetry; "My Heart Soars" and "My Spirit Soars"
Chief Dan George died of heart failure at the age of 82 on September 23rd 1981 on the reservation where he was born. He was interred at Burrard Cemetery.
One grand daughter is an actress, and another is a poet and author. A great grand daughter is also an actress and poet.
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