Dene Nahjo’s Melaw Nakehk’o makes Hollywood red carpet debut

December 17, 2015 |  2 min read

Dene Nahjo founding member Melaw Nakehk’o made her red carpet debut in Hollywood last night at the world premiere of The Revenant, a new film starring Leonardo DiCaprio and directed by Alejandro Inarritu.

pc: Pat Kane

It was the first film for Nahehk’o, a Dehcho and Denesuline Dene artist and mother from Liidlii Kue (Fort Simpson) in Denendeh (Northwest Territories), who plays the lead female role of Powaqa, the kidnapped daughter of an Arikara warrior.

On the red carpet, Nakehk’o modelled a recent collaboration between Indigenous artist Christi Belcourt with Italian design house Valentino, along with jewellry by ____, also an Indigenous artist from Santa Fe.

 During her interviews with Hollywod media, Nakehk’o spoke about the importance of supporting “culturally appropriate collaborations” between Indigenous artists and fashion designers, calling out the cultural theft that often takes place when designers become “inspired” by Indigenous arts and fail to give credit.

Nakehk’o also spoke to the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women in North America. When asked how she prepared for her first-ever role as Powaqa, she said it was through honouring the lives of Indigenous women who have been subjected to such violence.

Watch her red carpet interview here.