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Indigenous Peoples' Literature

Chief Dan George

(Painting by Ray Senft)

(1899 - 1981)


"O Great Spirit whose voice I hear in the winds,
I come to you as one of your many children.
I need your strength and your wisdom.
Make me strong not to be superior to my brother,
but to be able to fight my greatest enemy:

"Myself"


"We have taken so much from your culture,
I wish you had taken something from ours...
For there were some beautiful and good things within it.
Perhaps now that the time has come,
We are fearful that what you take will be lost....

I shall grab the instruments of the white man's success:

His education, his skills, and society.

If you talk to the animals they will talk with you and you will know each other.
If you do not talk to them you will not know them, and what you do not know you will fear.
What one fears one destroys."


Chief Dan George was a gifted actor and chief of the Salish Band in Burrard Inlet, British Columbia. He was born 'Geswanouth Slahoot', on July 24, 1899, in North Vancouver, British Columbia and died September 23, 1981, in Vancouver, British Columbia.

He first came to prominence in a supporting role as the Indian who adopts Dustin Hoffman in Arthur Penn's Little Big Man (1970); for which he received an Academy Award nomination. Dan also played the Old Sioux in the TV miniseries epic, "Centennial" (1978). He did a hilarious turn as Clint Eastwood's bumbling traveling companion in "The Outlaw Josey Wales" (1976).

Chief Dan George made several films in Canada and often added a dignified strength and depth to his roles in his brief, but impressive career.

His books include:

"My Heart Soars"
"My Spirit Soars"
"You call Me Chief: Impressions of the Life of Chief Dan George"
"Hilda Mortimer with Chief Dan George"

His many films included:

Americathon (1979), Centennial (1978), Outlaw Josey Wales,
(1976), Shadow of the Hawk (1976), Bears and I (1974), Harry and Tonto (1974),
Alien Thunder (1973), Dan Candy's Law (1973), Little Big Man (1970), Smith! (1969).


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The Indigenous Peoples' Literature pages were researched and organized by Glenn Welker.


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