Dakota House is an actor, youth activist, screenwriter, father, black belt martial artist, children’s book author and TV show producer.
He visits Xwisten next week in his role as a youth activist and leader of a two-day interactive community event.
The event, hosted by the Bridge River Indian Band and sponsored by area Aboriginal bands and local businesses, is free and open to youth, young adults and elders. Participants must register with the Bridge River Band.
The workshops begin Thursday, Aug. 23 at 10 a.m. with a session on leadership and self-expression. The workshop uses interactive demonstrations and exercises, including Power of Voice and a unity circle, to give each participant time to talk about themselves and tap into their own voices. The session also encourages youths to see and experience what it’s like to be a leader among their peers. Lunch will be provided.
Day 2 on Aug. 24 covers topics such as bullying, suicide prevention, drugs and alcohol and winds up at 3 p.m. with an autograph session with Dakota House and group photos. The bullying workshop uses interactive exercises to illustrate how gossip and bullying start and focuses on verbal and non-verbal communication styles. Lunch will be provided.
Introduced to audiences as Tee Vee Tenia in the long-running CBC series North of 60, Dakota House has also appeared in The Diviners, Medicine River, Dreamkeeper, The X-Files, The Winter Chill and the part that earned him a nomination at the 2006 American Indian Film Festival, One Dead Indian.
Born in Manning, Alberta and raised in a tough inner city Edmonton neighbourhood, House says his greatest achievement is establishing the non-profit organization Going M.I.L.E.S. – Motivate. Inspire. Lead. Inspire. Succeed. The organization is dedicated to helping Aboriginal youth use the arts as a means of self-expression and self-empowerment.
“We travel all over North America,” House explained. “It’s empowering our youth to develop the tools to make right choices in their lives. There’s really a lot of bonding and breaking down barriers. Being able to watch them develop is the most gratifying thing I do. I mean, being able to utilize my talents and abilities and give back and really make a difference in the next generation. By the end of the workshops, we’ve really bonded; to the kids I’ve become a brother from another mother.”