American Indian actor, Martin Sensmeir made an appearance in the Distinguished Speakers Series at Givens Performing Arts Center on Sep. 27, 2018. PN Photo/ Ro-Shonda King
The Distinguished Speaker Series, presented by the Office of Campus Engagement and Leadership (CEL) and Givens Performing Arts Center (GPAC), returned this academic year with four guest speakers. On Sep. 27, American Indian actor and activist Martin Sensmeier started the 2018-2019 series.
Sensmeier is an Alaska Native of Tlingit, Koyukon-Athabascan descent. He has starred in the films "The Magnificent Seven" and "Wind River."
He is currently working on the Jim Thorpe biography film, produced by Angelina Jolie, as the lead role.
Jim Thorpe was a Native American athlete and Olympic gold medalist. This role will make Sensmeier the first Native American to star as an actual Native in a production about a Native.
Throughout the day, Sensmeier got to know the town of Pembroke.
He did an interview on WNCP-TV – the student-led broadcast station – played basketball with students in the auxiliary gym of the Jones E. Center, interacted with student workers and visited the local Boys and Girls Club with Alpha Pi Omega, Phi Sigma Nu, and Hok Nosai Greek Council.
At 7:30 p.m., an audience of about 250 – including students, faculty and staff and members of the community – gathered in GPAC for the event. CEL director Abdul Ghaffar conducted the discussion with Sensmeier on stage.
Sensmeier spoke about his Native background and his acting career. He also discussed his beliefs on issues related to Native Americans, such as the insignificance of Columbus Day and shared advice on how people can make a difference.
“Our way of life is something that’s at home, it’s something we participate in, but also our values are with us every day and we carry that everywhere,” said Sensmeier.
The audience was given the opportunity to ask questions after the initial conversation.
To end the night, Sensmeier signed autographs and took pictures.
Despite the devastation left from Hurricane Florence, UNCP truly appreciated Sensmeier’s encouraging words, said Ghaffar.