To the general public, Buckley Petawabano is best known for his acting career. For the Cree Nation, he is known for so much more than that.
In the late 60’s, Buckley acted in a Canadian television series called ‘Adventures in Rainbow Country’. His character called Pete Gawa was one of the first regular First Nations characters to appear in a Canadian television series. He also acted in ‘Cold Journey’ in 1976, and worked as a cinematographer in ‘Amisk’ and ‘Cree Way’ in 1977. Buckley also appeared on stage in the Ecstasy of Rita Joe in Montreal in 1972.
From acting and cinematography, Buckley also played a role in communications. Beginning in 1971, he presented a proposal to the CRTC to encourage Aboriginal broadcasting and Cree Radio Network, now called James Bay Cree Communications society. In 1976, he also proposed to the CRTC to exempt status to radio stations on reserves. All of his proposals were adopted. In 1998, he presented to the Grand Council of the Crees the creation of an alternate telecommunications service, now known today as the Eeyou Communications Network, where he is also a member in the committee.
Buckley now runs his own production company in Mistissini, Nesk productions. For the early inspiration of portraying one of the first Native American characters in a television series, for his work as a cinematographer, for the longtime service in communications, we honor Buckley with this award.
The Cree Legend Award is presented to a unique individual whom through years and years of dedication, commitment and hard work. It is presented to an individual who has bettered not only their community, but the Cree Nation as well.
Buckley Petawabano accepting the Cree Legend award at the CNACA Festival 2013
Cold Winter Journey (1976)