WATERLOO, ONTARIO — Aboriginal actor Adam Beach will receive an Honorary Doctor of Letters degree on Thursday, June 12, 2014, from Wilfrid Laurier University at its Waterloo campus.
Beach is a Canadian Saulteaux actor who has appeared in more than 60 films and television programs. Perhaps, best known as Victor in “Smoke Signals,” Beach starred in “Wind Talkers,” “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee,” and “Cowboys and Aliens.”
He played Ira Hayes, the Pima U.S. Marine who helped raise the American flag at Iwo Jima, in the Academy Award-nominated and Clint Eastwood-directed “Flags of Our Fathers.”
“For me, playing Ira was a meaningful relationship. I would call it – trying to find out how he was, or how he thought and felt,” Beach said in an interview about playing Ira Hayes with MovieHole.net.
Born in Ashern, Manitoba, Beach spent his early years on the Dog Creek First Nation Reserve. He lost both parents weeks apart at a young age, and was raised first by his grandmother and then by his aunt and uncle in Winnipeg, where he began performing in local theatre productions.
He has also appeared on numerous television shows, including recurring roles on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” and “Big Love,” and most recently the Canadian drama “Arctic Air.”
In addition to his acting, Beach founded the non-profit Adam Beach Foundation with a focus on Native youth suicide prevention and awareness. He has also started a project that brings pop-up cinemas to remote First Nations communities.
He will receive his Honorary Doctor of Letters degree Thursday at the Athletic Complex on the Waterloo campus starting at 9:30 a.m.
CORRECTION: This article was corrected to reflect Mr. Ira Hayes was a Pima, not Navajo as it was stated in the original article. Monday, June 9, 2014, 7:32 pm – EDT.
CORRECTION: This article was corrected to update correct spelling of Ashern, Manitoba. Wednesday, June 11, 2014, 10:42 p.m. – EDT.