Column: Adam Beach committed to his people

"There's a lot people don't know about Adam Beach, but first let's talk about what we do know. Sitting in an interview recently at the Toronto offices of the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation, Beach is looking alert and handsome, his black eyes sparkling as he sips a takeout coffee.

And no wonder he's in a good mood. The actor's star is rising -- both north and south of the border. Beach, who still calls Ottawa his home, has done a string of critically lauded Hollywood movies, most recently working with Clint Eastwood on Flags of Our Fathers. He also appeared in Windtalkers with Nicolas Cage, a film about the American code-communications specialists in the Second World War; Smoke Signals; Lost in the Barrens, with Graham Greene; the Canadian film Dance Me Outside and its spinoff series, The Rez. He also stars in an upcoming HBO film, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, about the tragic impact the opening of the American West had on American Indian culture, along with Canadian-born actress Anna Paquin (to be broadcast May 27).

But despite all this cross-border success, Beach remains committed to his country. Tonight in Edmonton, he is hosting the 14th annual National Aboriginal Achievement Awards and last year, he returned to his home reserve in Dog Creek and ran an unsuccessful campaign to become its new chief. MTV documented the effort as part of its Diary series, which aired on television last month.

Beach says he ran for chief because his family (some of whom still live on the reserve) asked him to, and while he would have gladly taken up the reins as leader, he also wasn't entirely surprised when he lost."

Get the Story:
Leah McLaren: The rez: 'There's a lot of healing to be done' (The Daily Globe and Mail 3/31)

Relevant Links:
Flags of Our Fathers -
Adam Beach, official message board -

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