Fort Simpson actress Melaw Nakehk’o hit the red carpet in Hollywood on Wednesday for the world premiere of The Revenant.
The movie, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy, tells the story of an 1800s frontiersman and fur trader in the northern United States named Hugh Glass.
Nakehk’o was chosen to feature in the movie following an open casting call in the Northwest Territories late last year.
“It was amazing that [The Revenant director] Alejandro González Iñárritu sought out First Nations and Native American actors to portray the tribes in the film,” Nakehk’o told AndroidTV on the red carpet.
“There’s a lot of stereotyping of Indigenous peoples still today in mainstream media. It’s really important that we’re portrayed like we’re real people. We’re still here. I’m really honoured to be a part of it.”
Nakehk’o wore an outfit from Italian designer Valentino and Métis artist Christi Belcourt.
“Today, there is a lot of cultural appropriation with Indigenous arts being appropriated by non-Indigenous fashion designers, not giving any credit or recognition,” she said.
“It’s really important that I’m representing a First Nation artist that has collaborated on such a high level in fashion with Valentino.”
Reviews of The Revenant have been broadly positive, with movie review aggregators dubbing the movie “an absorbing drama”.
The UK’s Guardian newspaper installed The Revenant at number three in its list of 2015’s top 50 movies, adding it formed an “extraordinarily handsome study of a human encounter with nature at its rawest: both gruesomely bloody and crystalline in its beauty”.
AV Club said The Revenant “finds a middle ground between the racist, vilifying depictions of Native Americans in old Hollywood movies and the romanticized conception of them in films like Dances With Wolves”.