In spite of the fact that I am obviously of white European descent and sometimes people have wrongly assumed that I care nothing for the other cultures of the world (based on my skin tone alone), I have always had a passion for learning about other cultures, ethnicities, religions, and people in general. I often say that if we are all the same, this world would be boring. So having the opportunity to recently interview Gerald Auger was a veritable treat. I do not often come into contact with Indigenous peoples, and the fact that he is such a well-spoken activist for his people with a heart for indie film that tells the accurate history of this misunderstood people group made this an enlightening question/answer session indeed.
RH: Why did you decide to pursue a career in the entertainment field?
GA: It was never my intention to pursue a career in the entertainment field; it was chosen for me by my higher power, the Creator. I did a favour for a friend, and I was asked to represent an organization that worked with my Indigenous people–to be a part of opening ceremonies at a national event filmed LIVE on television that had an Indigenous component. In 1998, a producer saw me on TV. The next thing I knew, I was in Italy with Harvey Kietel and the Late David Bowie shooting my first feature film Gunslinger’s Revenge (Il mio West), making Italian movie history. I realized that it was something that fed my soul, so I pursued it.
I was told by the spirit world, back in 2009, to walk away and take a break from Hollywood. I was losing touch with myself, with life and my cultural and spiritual values and beliefs. I had been involved in Hollywood fifteen years, and it just about took my soul. So I walked away from it as I was told. In June of 2015, I came out of a six-year sabbatical that I did in my traditional Woodland Cree territory. After my sabbatical, I realized what the Creator had in store for me in film and television when I got discovered back in the day.
I think one of your earliest works was in the film Dreamkeeper. What was memorable and/or significant for you about this film?
Dreamkeeper was one of the first TV series where Hollywood did their best to acknowledge our Indigenous stories, values and beliefs. Looking back, I understand now that I had to experience that. Dreamkeeper acted as one of the catalysts that propelled me to be doing what I’m doing now in the industry as an actor, writer, producer and director: the capacity to be able to work with various non-Indigenous directors and production houses that want to learn the true essence of who we are as Indigenous people. Yes, it didn’t happen overnight–nothing ever does–but as long as I can do what I can to bring that awareness and understanding of my Indigenous language, ceremonies and ancestral knowledge, that is my desire. My sabbatical was to reboot and reconnect me to the ways of my Ancestors and to share the Ancestral knowledge that I earned for myself through personal sacrifice.
As an actor, it looks like your first recurring role was in the series Hell On Wheels. How did that role come about? What was your experience like on that show?
Pawnee Killer did a lot for my career, and I am truly grateful to the Creator for blessing me with the opportunity. David Von Aken (Director) and Tony and Joe Gayton (writers and creators) were good to work with the season I was there.
The role came about when I was asked to read for the role of Pawnee Killer which I ended up booking. I then asked David Von Aken (Director), Jeremy Gold (Endermol USA) and Tony and Joe Gayton how they decided on me to be Pawnee Killer. They all said every other actor that auditioned for Pawnee Killer literally screamed their lines because Pawnee Killer was an INTENSE character, both in real life and on screen. They said, “ We could see that there was something simmering just below the surface with you and that the intensity was there and you didn’t have to project through your voice.” My whole experience on the show was amazing, surreal and truly worth it. Outside of Hell On Wheels, Pawnee Killer continues to bring an awareness and understanding to my non-Indigenous brothers and sisters on the plight of my Indigenous people through personal interactions at festivals and other events/situations.
It would seem that you have a passion for indie film with a strong message. What do you see as the benefits and challenges of indie films?
I do have a strong passion for indie films as I had promised myself something when I first started in my career. If I ever got to a position in my career to help someone achieve their dreams and aspirations, I promised that I would honor that by helping to the best of my abilities.
Having said that, I have also learnt that some, not all, indie film makers need to understand the film industry inside and out before attempting to chase and pursue their dreams in the industry. There is a wealth of knowledge out there that is accessible through film festivals, industry functions and events and social media, Do your homework: study it, breath it, eat it and live it. To be honest, the last couple of projects that I was approached for, taught me to be a little more cautious. I will always keep an open mind and heart, but I will be mindful of the experience and drive behind the vision and people behind the project. Time is of the essence for me lately, and I don’t want to waste my time in this world. Each day we live is also a day closer to going home to our Creator. I want to be able to say each day, “ I LIVED TODAY!”
Lost Face had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival at the Short Corner. It has had an EPIC run. It just won another award. The first award was in Australia for an on-line competition.
The reception that I have experienced by my fans, followers and “true” friends has been very humbling and honoring. Life is about learning from our life experiences. So life will put challenges and obstacles so that we can learn, grow and evolve as spiritual beings housed in these human beings.
Life happened for me at my last film festival I just attended. Jealousy and resentment reared its ugly head after LOST FACE won one of the top awards at the film festival. A former Indigenous leader and an immediate family member of this former leader both verbally attacked me at the awards show. It was only after the fact that I realized that it was based on jealousy and resentment. They had a family member who had submitted a film to the same awards show, but didn’t win because the film I was in won the award. At the end of the day, all I could do was offer prayers for the family. It taught me that there are human beings in this world that are lost, confused and hurt. That all I can do is pray for them that they learn to walk in love and light. The colonization and assimilation of my Indigenous people through residential schools and government policy has disconnected many of my Indigenous people from their own language, culture, traditions, beliefs and spiritual base.
You appear to have many upcoming works. Please mention any that you can and give us a little information about them.
Lost Face is inspired by Jack London. Sean Meehan, the director personally messaged me to offer me the role of Makamuk. Sean acknowledged he wanted to remain as authentic as possible to show respect for who we were as Indigenous people. Those statements were what inspired me to accept his offer–the fact that he was willing to learn. I realized that he was a man of integrity and truth, which I admire in a fellow human being. Storytellers like Mr. Meehan are few and far between. Sean, both on and off set, exemplified respect and honor for the Indigenous language, culture, beliefs and spiritual base. Hollywood does not fully understand the sacredness of who we are as Indigenous people. I honored Sean’s request to play Makamuk so that I could represent my Ancestral knowledge and language of my Ancestors.
When the Creator opened the doors of communication for Jane Fitzpatrick, the writer/producer of Windcatcher, I was yet again honored and humbled to be asked to be a part of cinematic history. Even though Lewis and Clark’s journey had been told in the past, it was never told through the eyes of Sacajawea. Jane sat and researched the story by sitting and visiting Sacajawea’s people and history. Jane is not of Indigenous heritage, but of the western world. The process she followed in writing the story with an open mind and heart allowed her to learn more about who we are as Indigenous people. If more people in Hollywood like Jane understood the protocol of our ways, there would not be the stereotypes of my people in Hollywood that exists today and yesterday.
Humanity has forgotten that the woman is the most powerful, sacred and beautiful being in this physical world. We as men are strong physically, but the woman is stronger physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually as she gives life. Without the women, we as humanity would not exist. Sacajawea is both a heroine and icon, not just for Indigenous people, but for all the women in humanity. Being a part of this amazing and epic story, I want to do my part in honoring the women of the world. Windcatcher tells Sacajawea’s personal and spiritual journey. This has never been done in Hollywood.
Anichovs Bridge is another prime example of my Indigenous culture and spiritual base being honored and respected. When Natalia Drozd (producer) personally contacted me on behalf of the director to have me read for the role of the Native American spirit in Anichovs Bridge, she wanted to represent our spiritual beliefs and values in the film of course as authentic as possible. They had researched Native American actors, and because of my past work, they wanted me to read for the film because they liked my perception and outlook on life based on my spiritual beliefs. Anichovs Bridge is part of a group of seven women who are telling their stories based on the concept of love.
Please tell us about WE ARE: JUSTICE NATION and what the purpose of this campaign is.
Will Crawford, president of Mindshadow Entertainment, personally contacted me in December of 2015, to offer me to be a part of a new franchise. Both Will and Danie, CEO of Mindshadow, explained to me that they were looking for a face for this new idea. Again, they had done their research and discovered me in the process. Mindshadow Entertainment came at a time when I was seriously having doubts about returning to Hollywood because of what it was before I left for my sabbatical. The Creator is called the Great Mystery for a reason so when Mr. Crawford made the initial contact, it made me realize that maybe I wasn’t done with Hollywood. I learnt on my sabbatical that everything happens for a reason, and that Mindshadow Entertainment and I were meant to work together in bringing a message of diversity, equality, unity and inclusion into the world.
Mindshadow’s superhero team WE ARE: JUSTICE NATION is inclusive, unifying of all people and addresses the human condition. They represent all walks of life and are the next generation of sheroes and heroes that will represent us all. Mindshadow Entertainment’s goal is to build relationships and communities worldwide through these characters, to foster compassion and to empower others collectively and individually. Together they will fight the evils that lurk among us while shattering the barriers imposed on them by a rigid society.
PLANET JUSTICE will be the next generation of heroes’ and sheroes’, our children and their children’s children.
I am thankful for all the struggles that I have experienced in the pursuit of my career(s) as they forced me to understand myself emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually. It also taught me acceptance of other cultures, values and beliefs. They made me aware of humanity’s prejudices, misconceptions, and judgements that led me to understanding that all human beings are at different levels of knowing and understanding the true sacredness and value of life. That how you treat your fellow human being either, be it through love, kindness and compassion, or hate, anger and greed, that will determine what kind of footprint you will be leaving for your children and their children’s children.
As you seek to inform the film/TV industry about who the Indigenous people really are, what is the best thing that fans/viewers can do to aid you in your endeavors?
To have an open mind and open heart as a spiritual being housed in a human being. To embrace love, light and acceptance in mind, body and spirit. So that you may learn to treat your fellow human being with love, kindness and compassion. As Indigenous people, we were taught through stories and land-based teachings. We are inherent storytellers. I have learnt through my own personal experiences on this journey we call life that we are at a pivotal crossroads in time.
What are we teaching our children when we can’t co-exist as human beings of all races in this world? What type of footprint are we going to leave our children and their children’s children? Will it be based on hate, greed, materialism, ego or love, kindness, compassion, unity and equality.
All too often, the message that Gerald has proclaimed in this interview is something that the media and those in today’s quick-tempered, speak-before-you-think society (not to mention, “I can say whatever I want because I’m anonymous online”) overlook far too often. It pains me in the extreme to read of the plight of people who are passed over based on the way they look, who their parents are, where their heritage lies, etc. Gerald is an exemplary spokesperson for the Indigenous people of this world in general, and he always puts his entire essence into whatever he is doing, whether it is film, television, indie film, or even shedding much-needed light on the misunderstood Indigenous people. While he is a spiritual man, he is a man of action as well. He doesn’t merely sit back and permit injustice and misconceptions to run rampant. On the contrary, Gerald is proactive and yet as humble as can be as he sees himself as an extension of his people to give aid for such a moment as is needed today. I fully applaud what Gerald is doing, and I greatly respect quiet but resourceful activists such as he. He understands that he won’t be recognized for shouting his words louder than everyone else. He comprehends that grace, regard for humankind, and a genuine love for all people is something that speaks louder than a microphone screeching decibels in an unintelligible tongue. If you ever have the chance to check out his various projects, films, and television works, be sure that you jump at the chance, as to witness his amazing work can only be a treat in the sublime. Additionally, please consider checking out the links below and following him on social media so that you are aware of every action he is taking to make certain that equality is assured for all people in this world of ours.
Interested in subscribing to all my site's updates? Subscribe below!