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Floyd "Red Crow" Westerman (August 17, 1936 – December 13, 2007) was a Dakota musician, activist and actor. Late in his life, he became a leading actor depicting Native Americans in American films and television. He is sometimes credited as Floyd Crow Westerman.

Early life

Westerman was born Floyd Kanghi Duta Westerman on the Lake Traverse Reservation, home of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Dakota (Sioux) in the U.S. state of South Dakotamarker. "Kanghi Duta" means "Red Crow" in Dakota (one of the 3 "Sioux" dialects). As a youth, he attended an off-reservation elementary school where he was forced to cut his hair and forbidden to speak his native language. This would profoundly impact his later life and his restless pursuit of championing his own heritage. At the age of 10, Westerman was sent to the Wahpeton Boarding School, where he first met Dennis Banks of the American Indian Movement.


Westerman’s film and television appearances include the role of the “shaman” for Jim Morrison in Oliver Stone’s The Doors and as "Chief Ten Bears" in Dances with Wolves. Westerman debuted in Renegades in which he played "Red Crow" the Lakota Sioux father of Lou Diamond Phillips. In his last film, Westerman appeared as Standing Elk alongside his long-time friend Max Gail in the 2006 family film, Tillamook Treasure. He can be seen as well in the beginning of Hidalgo, as Chief Sitting Bull in Buffalo Bill's circus.

His television roles have included playing "Uncle Ray" on Walker, Texas Ranger, "One Who Waits" on Northern Exposure and multiple appearances as "Albert Hosteen" on the X-Files. In September 2007, Westerman finished work for the film Swing Vote.

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 recordings of his own, Westerman has collaborated with Jackson Browne, Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, Harry Belafonte, Joni Mitchell, Kris Kristofferson, and Buffy Sainte-Marie. Westerman toured with Sting in the 1990s to raise funds to preserve rain forests.

He earned a degree in secondary education from Northern State Universitymarker in South Dakotamarker. Westerman also spent two years in the United States Marine Corps.

Westerman was also a recognized political advocate for Native American causes, working at times with the American Indian Movement. In 2000, American Indian Expo named Westerman celebrity of the year.

From 2003–2007, Westerman appeared in a number of television advertisements for "Lakota" brand topical pain reliever, often wearing traditional Native dress.


Westerman died on December 13, 2007, at Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angelesmarker after an extended illness and complications from leukemia.

His interment was located at Saint Matthew's Catholic Cemetery in Veblen, South Dakotamarker.


"And I told them not to dig for uranium, for if they did, the children would die. They didn't listen, they didn't listen, they didn't listen to me.

And I told them if the children die, there would be no keepers of the land. They didn't listen.

And I told them if they destroy the sky, machines would come andsoon destroy the land. They didn't listen...

And I told them if they destroy the land, man would have to move into the sea. They didn't listen...

And I told them if they destroy the sea -- they didn't listen..."

-from the Floyd Westerman song "They Didn't Listen" as Westerman recited the lyric concluding his testimony in 1992 at the World Uranium Hearings in Salzburgmarker, Austriamarker.


Television appearances


  • Custer Died for Your Sins (1969)
  • Indian Country (1970)
  • Custer Died for Your Sins (re-recording) (1982)
  • The Land is Your Mother (1982)
  • Oyate (with Tony Hymas) (1990)
  • A Tribute to Johnny Cash (2006)


  2. Time Magazine, Dec. 31 2007 - Jan. 7 2008
  3. World Uranium Hearing

External links

[[Category:Sioux people

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