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Jack Kohler (Hupa)

Jack Kohler is a member of the Hupa tribe and a descendant of the Yurok and Karuk peoples, whose traditional lands are in northern California along the Klamath and Trinity Rivers. His grandmother was relocated in the 1950s to San Francisco when his father was three years old. Kohler subsequently grew up in the San Francisco Bay area, graduating from Stanford University with a BS in civil engineering.

Kohler became a member of Actor’s Equity Association in 1995 and a SAG actor in 1997, with a role in the HBO drama Grand Avenue. He has played Tecumseh, Crazy Horse and Captain Jack in outdoor theatrical productions. His connections as an actor led him to become a producer and a filmmaker, working on PSAs and documentary films, many made with the support of Native American Public Telecommunications. In addition to River of Renewal, he co-produced the documentary California’s Lost Tribes (d. Jed Riffe) which aired nationally on PBS and received a CINE Golden Eagle Award in 2006. He has also developed media for prevention of substance abuse for middle schoolers and HIV prevention for teens.

Kohler is the media director for the United Auburn Indian Community in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. He and young tribal member Jessica Starkey recently co-directed the feature film, Behind the Door of a Secret Girl, which was based on Starkey’s writing and shot on the Auburn Rancheria. Kohler has also worked as a media instructor for the American Indian Film Institute’s Tribal Touring Program, mentoring Native youth on reservations and rancherias in California. In 2005 Kohler won the Eagle Spirit award from the American Indian Film Festival

Work featured: River of Renewal