British Columbia

Filmmaker proposes 'Indigenous Walk of Fame' in Duncan

A Duncan born-and-raised filmmaker says Indigenous contributions to film and television have always been overlooked, and wants to see a "walk of fame" in Duncan to educate people about Indigenous talent.

Filmmaker says Duncan is already a local hub and attracts tourists, so makes sense as a location

Dauncan born-and-raised filmmaker Steve Sxwithul'txw says an Indigenous Walk of Fame makes sense for Duncan, and the city's mayor says it might be a good idea, too. (Steve Sxwithul'txw)

A filmmaker says Duncan, in the heart of Cowichan traditional territory, is an ideal place for a walk of fame celebrating Indigenous Canadian artists.

Steve Sxwithul'txw has written to Duncan City Council to ask for their support in making a city block into a walk of fame and brought the idea to council last night.

"What I quickly realized in working in the [film and television] industry and over a period of time, was that there was really no forum that was out there that could really acknowledge Indigenous talent," Sxwithul'txw told All Points West host Robyn Burns.

"Our people are not getting acknowledged for the work they do in film and television, nor have they been acknowledged for their work in film and television in years gone by, in the early years of Hollywood."

Sxwithul'txw says he can only think of one or two Indigenous people in the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and author Thomas King agrees.

In his book, The Inconvenient Indian, he notes the only two Indigenous actors are Jay Silverheels, who played Tonto in the Lone Ranger TV series, and Will Rogers. He also notes there are more cartoon characters on the Walk than Indigenous actors.

Odd location?

But why Duncan? Why not Toronto or Vancouver for the proposed walk?

Sxwithul'txw says it's because Vancouver Island has produced more than its fair share of Indigenous talent for the film and television industry and because it serves as a regional hub, including for tourists.

"When you get tourists coming in from around the world, not only do they get to enjoy the 'City of Totems,' but as well they get to enjoy and understand what Indigenous film and television talent really is," he said.

Duncan Mayor Phil Kent said the idea might be something that works for the City and wants to explore it further.

"[Council] received the idea quite positively," Kent said. "We have a strong relationship with First Nations here in Duncan … we were quite intrigued by the idea and encouraged to hear more."

Sxwithul'txw says he is forming a committee to explore details for what a walk in Duncan might look like as well as funding possibilities.

With files form CBC Radio One's All Points West

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