Abourezk: A tribute to Floyd Red Crow Westerman

"A lyrical and plainspoken voice for the oppressed.

A gentle but forceful critic of his people's assailants.

A strong, proud vision of Native people as we were.

These are the gifts Floyd Red Crow Westerman has given Native people.

These are the obligations and responsibilities we are left to carry on in his absence.

To the public, he will be remembered as Ten Bears, the wise Lakota elder who gave fireside counsel to Kevin Costner's Dances With Wolves.

But Westerman was much more than a movie character to those who knew him.

So much more to those who loved him.

For Gwen Westerman Griffin, he was and will remain uncle Floyd. The man who would tease her and call her his "magic butterfly."

A smiling, mischievous minstrel who always had time to lend a hand to someone in need.

"Anytime anybody called on him he was there," said Westerman Griffin, an English professor at Minnesota State University in Mankato. "He would bring his guitar with him. He would talk."

This week, Westerman's lifelong endeavor to set the record straight for Native people ended. As an actor, musician and activist, Westerman fought until his final days to educate non-Indians about the trials his people have had to endure."

Get the Story:
Kevin Abourezk: We Must Give Back What This Minstrel Gave Us (Reznet 12/15)

Actor-activist Westerman dies (The Sioux Falls Argus Leader 12/15)
American Indian activist, actor-musician (AP 12/15)

Related Stories
Floyd Red Crow Westerman passes away at 71 (12/14)