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Chief Dan George Biography

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Chief Dan George

Chief Dan George

Birthdate:   24 July 1899
Website: http://www.thegoldweb.com/voices/chiefge
Category: Movies

Geswanouth Slahoot was born July 24, 1899 on the Burrard reserve in North Vancouver. He went by the name Dan Slahoot, the English version of his childhood nickname, Teswahno, until he went to St. Paul's boarding school at the age of five. There, where the students weren't allowed to speak their Native languages, they changed his name to Dan George, taking his new surname from his father's English name, George.               
He became Chief Dan George in 1951 when he took over as chief of the Burrard band from his father. He continued in that role until 1963, when his acting career began. Chief Dan George was made honorary chief of two other bands, the Squamish and Shuswap.

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).

In addition to feature films, Chief Dan George has also guest starred on many TV shows, including "The Incredible Hulk", "Bonanza", and "The Beachcombers". 

 His success, and the celebrity that came with it, made George's life busier, but there were few outward signs that he had become a Hollywood star. He continued to live on the reserve in the same little house he had built for his wife and six children.

George's determination to use his celebrity to benefit Native people was demonstrated on Canada Day, 1967, as the country celebrated its centennial. On that day, George stood on the stage of the Empire Stadium in Vancouver in front of 35,000 people and, accompanied by his family who drummed and chanted, he performed his soliloquy, Lament for Confederation.

Chief Dan George died on Sept. 23, 1981 at the age of 82


In 1971, George was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.

In 1971 he recieved the Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Little Big Man.

  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"



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Posted by: Hyack      Last updated: 10-09-07      Hits: 11755