Sad news–Native American actor and activist Floyd Red Crow Westerman dies

The photo at left shows Floyd Red Crow Westerman being directed by Johnny Depp on the set of THE BRAVE; Johnny chose the esteemed Native American actor to play the father of Johnny’s character Raphael. Sadly, Mr. Westerman lost his battle with leukemia today; although he has been playing Native American sages on film for decades, he was only 71. He is survived by his wife Rosie and five children; we send them our deepest sympathy.

Perhaps best-known for his roles as Ten Bears in DANCES WITH WOLVES and the Navajo shaman Albert Hosteen in THE X-FILES, Westerman was a familiar face in American television and films, with recurring roles in WALKER, TEXAS RANGER (as the uncle of Chuck Norris’s protagonist) and DHARMA AND GREG. Johnny Depp’s respect for Floyd Red Crow Westerman was so deep that he asked him to perform a Lakota Sioux sunrise ceremony to bless THE BRAVE before shooting began. Johnny told VANITY FAIR’s Kevin Sessums about the ceremony in a 1997 article: “The first day, before we started shooting, I had him [Red Crow] perform a Lakota Sioux sunrise ceremony to bless the film. Right after he finished, just as the sun was coming up and I was sitting down in my director’s chair for the first time, I got a call [. . .]. It was Brando telling me he’d do the role [. . . .] Can you believe that? Marlon’s an angel, man. [. . . ] He’s my angel.”

To see a larger photograph of Floyd Red Crow Westerman on the set of THE BRAVE with Johnny Depp, click here: His life was a blessing to us all, and we will miss him. –Part-Time Poet