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|Chief Dan George|
(1899-07-24)July 24, 1899
Tsleil-Waututh, North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
|Deceased||September 23, 1981(1981-09-23)
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
|Profession(s)||Author, poet, actor|
Chief Dan George’s Biography
He was born on July 24, 1899 in Burrard Reserve No. 3 on the island of Vancouver, British Columbia, the son of a tribal leader, receiving the name of Tes-wah-no. He also received the English name Dan Slaholt. At five years of age he was enrolled in a school for native children (Canadian residential school system) administered by religious, where he spent his process of acculturation. There his name was changed to Dan George (the second was the English name of his father). After finishing his studies, he worked as a port worker, construction worker and professional driver for 27 years. In 1951, at the age of 52, he assumed as leader of his nation, a position he would occupy until 1963.
In 1960 he was presented with an acting test for the television series Cariboo Country, from Canadian television, and was chosen for the role of Ol ‘Antoine. The series was broadcast until 1967. The same year was chosen to play the same role in the film Smith! (1967), along with Glenn Ford, Nancy Olson, Warren Oates and Keenan Wynn, among others. He also participated in a chapter of the series El Gran Chaparral, and in 1971 in a chapter of the Bonanza series.
Along with developing his film career, Chief Dan George worked to promote a better understanding of Native Nations in Canada in the Anglo-Saxon society, through literary works. He wrote two poetry books My Heart Soars (1974) and My Spirit Soars (1982).
In 1967, during the celebration of the centenary of Canada in the city of Vancouver, he publicly declared before 35,000 people his monologue Lament for Confederation, an emotional and nostalgic speech for the loss of his people, his culture and his territory, to cause of colonization. This speech started the activism in Canada for the promotion of the cultural values of the First Nations, also awakening the sympathies in the Canadian society in general. The same year he participated in the play The Ecstasy of Rita Joe, a drama about the story of an Amerindian girl who moves to a city, where her life ends in a tragic end.
In 1970, at age 71, he played the role of Old Lodge Skins, in the film Little Great Man (1970), along with Dustin Hoffman, winning prizes awarded by the New York Film Critics and the National Society of Film Critics, as best supporting actor, among others, and being nominated for an Oscar as best supporting actor; being the first Amerindian to achieve it. In 1971 he received the decoration of Officer of the Order of Canada for his services to that country.
Typecast in the native Amerindian roles, although giving his personal interpretation according to his calm character, not exempt from subtle humor, he acted in a set of television series and films during the rest of the 1970s, including a role in The Fugitive Josey Wales (1976), with Clint Eastwood. His last appearance was in the film Nothing Personal (1980), along with Donald Sutherland and Suzanne Sommers.
He usually lived in the house built by him in Vancouver, with his family. There he died on September 23, 1981, at 82 years of age.
More Facts about Chief Dan George
|Whole Name||Chief Dan George|
|AKA(s)||Dan George, Chief Dan George, George, Dan|
|Born/Where||Tsleil-Waututh, North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada|
|Born||July 24, 1899|
|Lived||82 years, 1 month, 30 days|
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