World renowned Salteaux actor, Adam Beach, was in Waterloo last Thursday to accept an honorary doctorate degree from Wilfrid Laurier University. Other honorary degree recipients included Inuit filmmaker Zacharias Kunuk, renowned hockey dad and philanthropist Walter Gretzky and pioneering physicist and peace activist Urusula Franklin.
Beach may be best known for his break-out role as Frank Fencepost in Dance Me Outside which was filmed on Wasauksing First Nation near Parry Sound. Beach will be in Barrie on June 21st for the film’s 20th anniversary. Hosted by Jennifer Podemski, who also co-starred in the movie, there will be a 7 pm screening of Dance me Outside with a Q&A to follow. Special guests include, Adam Beach, Ryan Black and Jennifer Podemski. The event will be located at Uptown Theatre, 55 Dunlop St. W., Barrie. Tickets are $10.
Beach has also starred in Smoke Signals, Joe Dirt, Flags of Our Fathers, Windtalkers, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee and is currently starring in Arctic Air.
He was born in 1971 and grew up with his two brothers on the Dog Creek First Nation in Manitoba. Tragically, Beach lost his mother and father in separate accidents at the age of 8. Beach along with his brothers lived with their grandmother for five years then eventually moved to Winnipeg with their aunt and uncle where Beach attended the Manitoba Theatre for Young People. Beach’s first role was in the mini-series Lost in the Barrens. Shortly after that, he was cast on the television shows North of 60 and The Rez.
Melissa Ireland, Aboriginal Student Support Coordinator at Wilfrid Laurier University – Waterloo campus, introduced Beach at last week’s convocation ceremonies, “It is with great pleasure that we gather to honor Adam Beach, an internationally celebrated actor, advocate, role model, producer, political activist and First Nations change-maker. Mr. Beach is an exemplary performer and has thrived on the screen, proudly sharing his cultural heritage through the arts and is a fine role model to Aboriginal people across the country. Beyond acting, Mr. Beach has made a substantial contribution as a leader and a philanthropist. He takes his job very seriously as a role model as is reflected in his involvement with Indspire, a national non-profit organization which is dedicated to raising funds and delivering programs that provide the tools necessary for Aboriginal peoples, especially youth to achieve their potential.”
Beach also created an organization for First Nations youth wanting to pursue a career in the theatre arts.