Chief Dan George

Active - 1969 - 1998  |   Born - Jul 24, 1899   |   Died - Sep 23, 1981   |   Genres - Western, Drama, Comedy, Adventure

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Biography by Hal Erickson

A full-blooded Tse-lal-Watt Sioux, Canadian-born Chief Dan George was a manual laborer until his late 40s. Sidelined by an injury, George spent a dozen years as chief of his tribe. He stepped down from this post to become an actor at age 61, appearing on the Canadian TV adventure series Caribou Country. His first film was Smith!, produced in 1969. George was Oscar-nominated for his performance as Old Lodge Skins in the 1970 revisionist western Little Big Man. He continued appearing in films throughout the 1970s--sometimes in roles worthy of his talents, sometimes not (1971's Bob Hope vehicle Cancel My Reservation). In this last decade of his life, Chief Dan George actively campaigned for various Native American causes, foremost of which was his effort to guarantee that Indian roles in films would henceforth be played by Indians and not by heavily made-up Caucasians.

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