Vancouver Indigenous actor and playwright Taran Kootenhayoo dies

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      One of the brightest lights in Vancouver's Indigenous arts scene has died.

      Taran Kootenhayoo passed away on December 31.

      A GoFundMe page has been created to raise money to send his body back home to his family in Cold Lake, Alberta. He's a member of the Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation.

      His sister is DJ Kookum and he's also survived by his mother, Sheryl.

      Kootenyahoo wrote White Noise, a comedy exploring racial identity, which was presented at the Talking Stick Festival in 2019.

      He also played a street kid, Niki, in the feature film Bella Ciao!, which captured the diversity of Vancouver's Commercial Drive.

      Watch the trailer for Bella Ciao!

      "He was a very active member of the community and as many of you all know, brought laughter and light to everyone's lives," the GoFundMe page states. "Loved by all who knew him, hearts all across Turtle Island are heavy and share in grieving our beautiful brother and friend.

      "There are no words that can equal the amount of loss that will be felt by his absence as we all miss him. We ask that you light a candle or smudge and pray for him on his journey to join the ancestors." 

      Taran Kootenhayoo as he appeared in Bella Ciao!

      Here are some of the tributes to Kootenhayoo being expressed over social media.