Even with his 85th birthday approaching in July, notoriety continues to find its way to Adam Fortunate Eagle.
The longtime Fallon area resident will be recognized Saturday night at the Canada International Film Festival in Vancouver when “Contrary Warrior: The Life and Times of Adam Fortunate Eagle,” receives the Rising Star award.
Directed by John Ferry, the Lillimar Pictures film is a feature-length documentary about the influential Native American activist. The film has previously won the Audience Award at the Cine Las Americas International Film Festival in Austin, Texas, and the Platinum Reel Award at the Nevada International Film Festival in Las Vegas.
“I’m very honored,” said Fortunate Eagle. “It’s unbelievable at this stage in my life I’m still receiving these kinds of recognitions both nationally and now internationally. I’m still chugging along. I still make news, and even though I’m an old geezer, I’m still the Contrary Warrior.”
Fortunate Eagle said his granddaughter, Benayshe, who lives in Seattle, is expected to be on hand to receive the award.
Fortunate Eagle — who was born as Adam Nordwall in 1929 — and his wife, Bobbie, a Fallon native, have been married 64 years and have lived on the Paiute-Shoshone Tribe of the Fallon Reservation and Colony for 35 years.
He is remembered as one of the primary organizers for the 1969-71 occupation of Alcatraz Island, an experience he discussed during a 2012 interview with the LVN.
“We made history because that opportunity came around. Termination policy — House Resolution 108 in 1953, we stopped that — and as a result of Alcatraz we got (President Richard) Nixon to turn around and not only give back lands,” Fortunate Eagle said. “We also paved the way for the Indian Self Determination Act, giving the tribes more power and authority to govern themselves rather than have the Bureau of Indian Affairs do it for us as a colonial power for 100 years, so we stopped that, too.”
Fortunate Eagle pointed out one significant point to his granddaughter accepting Saturday’s Rising Star award — she was born on the fifth anniversary of the Alcatraz occupation.
His latest book, published by Oklahoma University Press this year is titled “Scalping Columbus and Other Damn Indian Stories: Truths, Half-Truths, and Outright Lies.”
“It’s an all-encompassing book (some of the stories) are serious, some are just crazy and funny,” Fortunate Eagle said.
In 2012, he was recognized as one of four recipients of the American Indian Youth Literature Awards for his book, “Pipestone: My Life in an Indian Boarding School.”