The Spirit of Crazy Horse instilled my native identity.
—Adam Beach, actor
Adam Beach is the star of the hit CBC series Arctic Air. He plays Bobby Martin, the son of a legendary Dene bush pilot, who finds his share of drama in Yellowknife as he tries to learn the ropes of the airline business.
Beach spoke to SCENE about the book that inspired him to look more closely at his own Ojibway roots.
What is the one book you think everyone should read?
In The Spirit of Crazy Horse
"In the Spirit of Crazy Horse" by Peter Matthiesson (Powell's Books)
by Peter Matthiessen. It gives an example of reservation life and struggles. In The Spirit of Crazy Horse
instilled my native identity.
And what I am going to do to stand up for myself.
What do I know about myself? What do I know about being Anishinabe? It's about my own spiritual justice, my own spiritual traditional connection. Why don't I know about this? Who is this? Who am I? It just opened those questions of looking at my internal self. What kind of answers did you come away with?
The answer I was finding within myself had to do with searching for my traditional cultural ways. Why didn't my family teach me this growing up? Why are some kids fortunate enough to have their language instilled in them from childhood when I was 16 not knowing but a few words?
I was searching for that whole idea of 'to be or not to be' Indian. I wanted to find strength within our traditional values and find a respect for myself. That book started an important journey for me when I was 16.
I found In The Spirit of Crazy Horse
allowed me to look into other books like Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee
by Dee Brown, certain books that allowed me to see texts or stories that showed me there is a lack of information and education about our traditional belongings here within North America.
We all know that's changing now and I'm pretty fortunate that we're collectively allowing our educators, our native professors to instill that into our younger generation. Arctic Air kicks off season two January 9 at 9 p.m.on CBC Television.