50 Faces of Indian Country 2016, I


In 2015 ICTMN introduced the 50 Faces of Indian Country magazine to celebrate the wealth of talented American Indians across Indian country. Last month the second annual issue, 50 Faces of Indian Country 2016, was published to highlight once again the work of a new crop of accomplished individuals and role models—including actors, leaders, and activists—who can offer inspiration to Native youth on a daily basis.

After all, what’s more uplifting than enjoying the positive contributions being made by some of the most talented people on the planet?

Careful readers will notice that movie star Adam Beach, who leads off this year’s issue, has the distinction of being the only Face of 2016 who was also featured in last year’s magazine. Given the release of Suicide Squad and other strong performances during the past two years, it only made sense for him to be our first repeat, year over year.

Below are the first 10 from 2016’s 50 Faces.

See the full magazine here.

The Blockbuster: Adam Beach

At just 43 years of age, Adam Beach, a Saulteaux raised on the Dog Creek First Nations Reserve, has appeared in more than 60 films and television shows all over the world. It is noteworthy to mention due to his success in 2016, appearing in one of the year’s biggest blockbusters along with projects in post-production, Beach is ICTMN’s only repeat from last year’s 50 faces. Though he is known overwhelmingly in Indian country for his 1998 role as Victor Joseph in Smoke Signals, Beach has also racked up a slew of awards, including a Golden Globe nomination for his role in Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (2007) and his role in the Oscar-nominated feature Flags of our Fathers, (2006) directed by Clint Eastwood, for which he was nominated for a Critics Choice Award. Also worth noting is Beach’s most recent role in the blockbuster Suicide Squad, (2016) in which Beach played the super-villain Slipknot. Though his time on screen was brief, he set a precedent for a Native appearing in a Hollywood super-hero movie that has already grossed hundreds of millions of dollars. - V.S.

The Dance Legend Daystar/Rosalie Jones

For more than 50 years, Daystar/Rosalie Jones has danced, choreographed and taught throughout North America, nurturing the development of indigenous talent. Born on the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana, she recognizes Little Shell ancestry through her mother’s lineage. She earned a Master’s Degree from the University of Utah, and studied at Juilliard School in New York City with Jose Limon, a pioneer of modern dance. In 1980, she founded Daystar: Contemporary Dance Drama of Indian American, considered the first Native modern dance company in the United States. In April 2016, she received the Institute of American Indian Arts’ First Annual Lifetime Achievement Award in Performing Arts presented “in honor of her lifetime of creativity, inspiring others and service to the field.” Her 30 works include Wolf: A Transformation and the scripted dance-dramas No Home but the Heart and Legacy of the Dream. Special Collections at University of California-Riverside houses the Daystar Archive. “In the beginning, the Creator gave to each one of us our own unique gift,” Daystar told ICTMN. “It is our responsibility to develop that gift throughout a lifetime so that, at the end, that will be our gift back to the Creator.”

The Visionary: Richard Peterson

Economic Development. Partnership. Tribal Sovereignty. Community Sustainability. Richard (Chalyee Éesh) Peterson, Tlingit and Haida from the Southeast Alaska village of Kasaan, has aggressively pursued all these goals as president of the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska (Central Council), the largest regional tribe in the state. Peterson’s ability to bring cultural values and business together via partnerships with federal, state, tribal and municipal governments has gained him national recognition. A founding member of the tribally owned Prince of Wales Tribal Enterprise Consortium (POWTEC), Chalyee Éesh promotes self-sufficiency in rural Alaska. He brought millions of dollars into POWTEC and did the same for his village tribe, the Organized Village of Kasaanis. In just two years as president, he has planned a cultural immersion park, a language immersion daycare, secured certification for the Tlingit Haida Tribal Business Corporation, and acquired a multimillion-dollar government contracting firm. He has received numerous awards, and serves on several boards representing Alaska Native interests. “Credit can never belong to one person,” he tells ICTMN. “I work with an Executive Council comprised of true leaders and have aligned a strong management team. We work hard to uphold the mission of the tribe, and our true strength is in our vision for tribal self-governance.”


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