Floyd Westerman (Floyd Red Crow Westerman)

Floyd Westerman

Westerman was born Floyd Westerman (Kanghi Duta) on the Lake Traverse Indian Reservation, home of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, a federally recognized tribe. It is one of the tribes of the Eastern Dakota subgroup of the Great Sioux Nation, living within the U.S. state of South Dakota. Kanghi Duta means “Red Crow” in Dakota (one of the three Sioux related languages). At the age of 10, Westerman was sent to the Wahpeton Boarding School, where he first met Dennis Banks (who as an adult became a leader of the American Indian Movement). There Westerman and other boys were forced to cut their traditionally long hair and forbidden to speak their native languages. This experience would profoundly impact Westerman’s later life. As an adult, he championed his own heritage. He graduated from Northern State University with a B.A. degree in secondary education. He served two years in the US Marines, before beginning his career as a singer. Before entering films and television, Westerman had established a solid reputation as a country-western music singer. His recordings offer a probing analysis of European influences in Native American communities. In addition to several solo recordings, Westerman collaborated with Jackson Browne, Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, Harry Belafonte, Joni Mitchell, Kris Kristofferson, and Buffy Sainte-Marie. In the 1990s, he toured with Sting to raise funds to preserve rain forests.

Westerman became interested in acting after years of performing as a singer. He debuted his film career in Renegades (1989), in which he played “Red Crow”, the Lakota Sioux father of Hank Storm, the character played by Lou Diamond Phillips. Additional film roles include “Chief Ten Bears” in Dances with Wolves (1990), and the “shaman” for the singer Jim Morrison in Oliver Stone’s The Doors (1991). Westerman appeared as Standing Elk, alongside his long-time friend Max Gail, in the family film, Tillamook Treasure (2006). He appeared in Hidalgo (2004), as Chief Eagle Horn in Buffalo Bill’s circus. In September 2007, Westerman finished work for the film Swing Vote (2008). Television roles included playing “Uncle Ray” on Walker, Texas Ranger (during the pilot and first regular seasons), “One Who Waits” on Northern Exposure, and multiple appearances as “Albert Hosteen” on The X-Files. Westerman died from complications of leukemia at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on December 13, 2007. He was survived by his wife Rosie and five children.

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Born

  • August, 17, 1936
  • USA
  • Lake Traverse Indian Reservation, South Dakota

Died

  • December, 13, 2007
  • USA
  • Los Angeles, California

Cause of Death

  • complications from leukemia

Cemetery

  • Saint Matthew Cemetery
  • Veblen, South Dakota
  • USA

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