Graham Greene

When Kevin Costner first interviewed Graham Greene for the role of Kicking Bird in Dances With Wolves he said to the Oneida actor: “Graham, you don’t look Native enough.” As we all know, that wasn’t the end of the story. There was the Academy Award nomination for Mr. Greene; the adulation of millions of fans worldwide; and, acknowledgement that Mr. Greene is perhaps the world’s best known Aboriginal actor. It goes to show that sometimes first impressions can be wrong – even for Kevin Costner. Mr. Greene is a legend in the world of Aboriginal theatre and movies. He starred in Tomson Highway’s acclaimed Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing – taking home a Dora Mavor Moore Award for his portrayal of the loveable Pierre St. Pierre. He also worked with Toronto’s Theatre Passe Muraille, even helping to build sets for various productions. His CBC television appearances began with Riel and the series The Great Detective back in the 1970s. But Mr. Greene hasn’t always been focused on success on the screen. There was a period when he did odd-jobs as he hitch-hiked across Canada, and periods working as a welder and iron-worker. If truth be known, Mr. Greene was selling t-shirts when the call from Mr. Costner first came. Since then, Dances With Wolves has become one of the most important pieces of film in Aboriginal history. Most importantly, Mr. Greene as Kicking Bird embodied all that is good in Aboriginal life and experience. And, if success with Wolves wasn’t enough, Mr. Greene received rave reviews from critics and audiences for his roles in Thunderheart, Die Hard 3 and Maverick, to name just a few. He has also appeared on television in Northern Exposure, Murder She Wrote, North of 60 and others. Along the way, Mr. Greene has become a role model for all Aboriginals who aspire to a career on the stage and screen. He received a 1997 National Aboriginal Achievement Award for his stellar performances.