Gwen Westerman Griffin of Mankato, MN announced today that Floyd Red Crow Westerman passed to the spirit world this morning about 5:00 a.m. in Los Angeles, California, at Cedars Sinai Hospital with family at his side after an extended illness. He was 71.
Today is a sad day, not just for the Native American people, but for all people. Red Crow has left behind a legacy that will be around till the end of time itself.
From singing, to acting in movies to being an activist, his life is a story and also an example of what we should be and hope to strive for in life. Through his devotion and dedication for the Native American youth to his global journeys to fight for saving the rain forests, Westerman has left a message for all to see and hear.
Even though Floyd Red Crow Westerman has been best known as an actor and mucisian, his life has been devoted to the benefit of all of mankind.
Floyd Red Crow Westerman (1936 – 2007)
Floyd Red Crow Westerman, Sisseton-Wapheton Dakota, began his career as a country singer, appeared in over 50 films and televison productions, including Dances With Wolves, Hidalgo, The Doors, Poltergeist, and Northern Exposure. He appeared in 12 episodes of the 1990s TV series, Walker, Texas Ranger, as Uncle Ray Firewalker.
As a young man, he was educated at the Wapheton and Flandreau Boarding Schools, where he became a close companion and life-long friend of Dennis Banks. He was a supporter of the American Indian Movement.
Floyd Red Crow Westerman left his home on the Lake Traverse reservation in South Dakota, with a suitcase and an old guitar in hand. He rambled across the country playing country music and original tunes in bars and clubs, living for some time in Denver.
In 1969, his first album Custer Died for Your Sins became the background theme of the emerging Red Power Movement.
As a member of the American Indian Movement, and a spokesman for the International Indian Treaty Council, Westerman traveled the world extensively working for the betterment of native people. His vision of improved social conditions for indigenous people around the globe is reflected in the music of his second album, The Land is Your Mother, 1982.
In 2006, he won a NAMMY Award for his third album, A Tribute to Johnny Cash. During his career, he played and collaborated with a number of notable musicians including Willie Nelson, Kris Kristopherson, Buffy St. Marie, Jackson Browne, Harry Belafonte, and Sting.
Floyd Red Crow Westerman also worked throughout his life to empower Indian youth. “They are our future,” he said in a November interview. “Today we are fighting a great battle against the popular culture that surrounds them. It’s a battle for their hearts and minds. We need to work to inspire them to embrace their own history and culture. Without them, we Indians have no future.”
Westerman will be taken home to Sisseton, South Dakota for memorial services and burial. Plans for a memorial service in Los Angeles are also being made. Flowers may be sent to the Sisseton Flower Shop, Sisseton, South Dakota.
I believe that today, from now on in history, should be a world reckonizing day for the respect of our departed brother. We were the first people here and still don’t have a day of remembrance for the Native Americans.
You will greatly be missed brother and you are loved by millions. Red Crow, now you are with the ancestors and also an ancestor are you. You are beginning a new journey now our brother, may peace, always be with you!