Alaskan actor, activist speaks at UNCP on Thursday

By: Staff report

PEMBROKE — As part of ongoing relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Florence, The University of North Carolina at Pembroke is waiving the cost of admission for the first act in the 2018-19 Distinguished Speaker Series on Thursday.

“We want to make this a special night for the Robeson County community,” said Abdul Ghaffar, director of Campus Engagement and Leadership. “Instead of charging our normal rate of $10, this event will be free to everyone.”

Alaskan native actor and activist Martin Sensmeier will speak at 7:30 p.m. at Givens Performing Arts Center.

Sensmeier is best known for his work in “Wind River” and HBO’s “Westworld.” The rising young actor will star in the upcoming Jim Thorpe biopic “Bright Path: The Jim Thorpe Story,” produced by Angelina Jolie.

Attendees are encouraged to bring canned food items, hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies, baby products and hygiene items, which will be donated to UNCP’s CARE Resource Center and the Burnt Swamp Baptist Association. Items will be collected at the door.

People who purchased tickets in advance will be refunded or given the option of donating to the CARE Resource Center, which serves as the campus’ food pantry and professional clothing closet. It provides assistance to students and area residents facing food insecurity.

Sensmeier, who is of Tlingit, Koyukon-Athabaskan, and Irish descent, was raised in a Tlingit coastal community in Southeast Alaska and grew up learning and participating in the traditions of his people, while carrying on the subsistence lifestyle that has been sustained there for thousands of years.

He is an ambassador for Native Wellness Institute and the Boys & Girls Club of America, and advocates for wellness among American Indian people of all nations, focusing largely on youth.

During high school, he qualified as a welder and when he turned 21, he worked on an oil rig in Alaska. He also attended the University of Alaska for two years before moving to Los Angeles in 2007 to pursue his dream of becoming an actor.

In 2016, he starred in the remake of “The Magnificent Seven,” playing the role of Red Harvest alongside Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt.

The Distinguished Speaker series is presented by Campus Engagement and Leadership.


Staff report