Floyd Westerman

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Floyd "Red Crow" Westerman
Floyd Westerman2.jpg
Westerman aka Kanghi Duta
Floyd Westerman

(1936-08-17)August 17, 1936
DiedDecember 13, 2007(2007-12-13) (aged 71)
Resting placeSaint Matthew's Catholic Cemetery, Veblen, South Dakota, U.S.
Other namesKanghi Duta
Occupation(s)Actor, artist, musician
Years active1988–2007
Political partyIndependent
SpouseRosie Westerman

Floyd Westerman, also known as Kanghi Duta ("Red Crow" in Dakota) (August 17, 1936 – December 13, 2007), was a Dakota Sioux musician, political activist, and actor. After establishing a career as a country music singer, later in his life he became an actor, usually depicting Native American elders in American films and television. He is also credited as Floyd Red Crow Westerman.[1] As a political activist, he spoke and marched for Native American causes.

Early life[edit]

He was born Floyd Westerman on the Lake Traverse Indian Reservation, home of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, a federally recognized tribe that is one of the sub-tribes of the Eastern Dakota section of the Great Sioux Nation, located in the U.S. state of South Dakota.[2][3] His Indigenous name Kanghi Duta means "Red Crow" in the Dakota language (which is one of the three related Siouan languages of the Great Plains).[4]

At the age of 10, Westerman was sent to the Wahpeton Boarding School, where he first met Dennis Banks (who as an adult became a leader of the American Indian Movement). There Westerman and the other children were forced to cut their traditionally long hair and forbidden to speak their native languages. This experience would profoundly impact Westerman's development and entire life. As an adult, he reclaimed his heritage and became an outspoken advocate for Indigenous cultural preservation.[5]

Westerman graduated from Northern State University with a B.A. degree in secondary education. He served two years in the US Marines, before beginning his career as a country singer.[3]


Before entering films and television, Westerman had established a solid reputation as a country-western music singer. In his songwriting he explored and critiqued the European influences on Native American communities. In addition to several solo recordings, Westerman collaborated with Jackson Browne, Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, Harry Belafonte,[3] Joni Mitchell, Kris Kristofferson, and Buffy Sainte-Marie. In the 1990s, he toured with Sting to raise funds to preserve the endangered rain forests.[3]

After years performing as a singer, Westerman became interested in acting. His film debut was in Renegades (1989), in which he played "Red Crow", the Lakota Sioux father of Hank Storm, played by Lou Diamond Phillips. Additional film roles include "Chief Ten Bears" in Dances with Wolves (1990), and the "shaman" for the singer Jim Morrison in Oliver Stone's The Doors (1991).[3] Westerman appeared as Standing Elk, alongside his long-time friend Max Gail, in the family film, Tillamook Treasure (2006). He appeared in Hidalgo (2004), as Chief Eagle Horn in Buffalo Bill's circus. In September 2007, Westerman finished work for the film Swing Vote (2008).[3]

Television roles included playing "George" on Dharma & Greg, "Uncle Ray" on Walker, Texas Ranger (in the pilot and first regular seasons),[3] "One Who Waits" on Northern Exposure, and multiple appearances as "Albert Hosteen" on The X-Files.[3] Westerman also did numerous Public Service Announcements for television including for the United Nations Earth Summit in Rio in 1992.


Westerman died from complications of leukemia at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on December 13, 2007.[2][6] He was survived by his wife Rosie, four daughters, and a son.

Selected filmography[edit]

Selected television appearances[edit]


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

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Song artist page from PBS
  2. ^ a b Martin, Douglas (December 18, 2017). "Floyd Red Crow Westerman, 71, an Actor, Is Dead". The New York Times. p. C11. Retrieved August 1, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Robert Jablon (December 16, 2007). "Floyd Red Crow Westerman, 71; Performer, activist". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 24, 2007.
  4. ^ Lockard, Vicki; Barry, Paul (June 3, 2000). "Indian Celebrity of the Year". Canku Ota - A Newsletter Celebrating Native America. Paul C. Barry. Archived from the original on April 23, 2006. Retrieved August 1, 2018.
  5. ^ Ford, Andréa (December 27, 2007). "Milestones – Died: Floyd (Red Crow) Westerman". Time. Archived from the original on December 27, 2007. Retrieved October 17, 2010.
  6. ^ Carlson, Michael (December 24, 2007). "Floyd Red Crow Westerman". The Guardian. Retrieved August 1, 2018.

Further reading[edit]

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