British Columbia

Victoria could be home to first Indigenous Walk of Fame thanks to local filmmaker

A Victoria-based filmmaker wants the city to establish an Indigenous Walk of Fame to acknowledge Aboriginal storytellers and actors in the industry.

Embracing Aboriginal culture and storytelling in film, Steve Sxwithul'txw aims to provide recognition

Steve Sxwithul’txw is a First Nations filmmaker and television producer based out of Victoria. His idea to create an Indigenous Walk of Fame aims to acknowledge the Aboriginal narrative and the industry's Indigenous artists. (Warrior Games blog)

A Victoria-based filmmaker wants the city to establish an Indigenous Walk of Fame to acknowledge Aboriginal storytellers and actors in the industry.

Steve Sxwithul'txw has been part of the film and television industry for about 10 years. In that time, Sxwithul'txw has produced two Leo Award winning programs: Warrior Games and the latest Tribal Police Files.

He created Kwassen Productions in 2009, a First Nations company with the goal of making the industry more accessible on Vancouver Island.

While traveling the continent, Sxwithul'txw was shocked to see the lack of acknowledgement of Indigenous people in film. But he sees the landscape changing.

"You'll see more storylines changing to embrace the Indigenous outlook, ways of being, themes, those kind of things," he said.

"We're seeing that starting to take over and more of our actors are starting to get involved in these types of films and television projects."

Sxwithul’txw's series "Warrior Games" took him across North America to try out Indigenous sports and activities. Here he holds the tools to play stickball, a game from the Choctaw Nation in Mississippi. (Warrior Games blog)

His project started with the objective of discovering which Aboriginal names held a space on Hollywood's Walk of Fame.

The results were discouraging.

Jay Silverheels, a Mohawk Canadian who played Tonto in the Lone Ranger TV series, was the only name he found.

"Adam Beech and the late Chief Dan George would be the first two that I would think because they both worked with Clint Eastwood, which I think is quite phenomenal," he said.

"Indigenous people in leading roles is far fetched. It just hasn't happened too often. For anyone of Indigenous blood to get that far is a huge accomplishment."

Sxwithul'txw pitched the idea of the Walk of Fame to the city council in his home town of Duncan, B.C., last year, but decided the location just wasn't right.

"I think we needed a bigger place, more centrally located," he said.

"Vancouver was in my mind, but Vancouver's got a lot going on already and I thought why not have it over here in the Kawungan territory. In this day of reconciliation I think this would be the …  perfect area, for us to have it."

With the Indigenous Walk of Fame, Sxwithul'txw hopes to do more than just lay a star in the ground. His goal is to encourage future generations, including his children, to feel comfortable embracing their culture and sharing it with the world.

"I try to be the example for them for what is important as an Indigenous person here," he said.

"Especially on our own territory as Coast Salish people — to learn and understand our culture and to promote our people in any way, shape or form that they can."

The proposal will be put before Victoria city council on Thursday.

With files from the CBC's On The Coast