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The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture

Saginaw Grant, left, performs a gourd dance, 1989
(2012.201.B0227.0082, Oklahoma Publishing Company Photography Collection, OHS).


An American Indian actor and a hereditary chief of the Sac and Fox Nation, Morgan Saginaw Grant was born on July 20, 1936, to Austin and Sarah Amelia Murray Grant in Pawnee, Oklahoma. He was a raised on a farm near Cushing, Oklahoma. His ancestry was Sac and Fox as well as Otoe-Missouria and Iowa. His middle name, which is also his professional first name, honors his paternal grandfather, Saginaw Grant.

In his youth Grant attended school in Pawnee, Oklahoma. He also attended Ponca Military Academy in Ponca City, Oklahoma. He later joined the U.S. Marine Corps, serving in Korea in the 1950s.

He began acting as a child in elementary school but never considered a screen career. In the 1980s, while giving a seminar in San Francisco, California, he was invited to appear in an automobile commercial on local television. That opportunity led gave him a new career path.

After making his first screen appearance in 1988 in War Party, he appeared in seventeen more films, playing an American Indian role. His movie credits included The World’s Fastest Indian (2005, with Anthony Hopkins) and The Lone Ranger (2013, with Johnny Depp). Grant’s television credits include appearances in episodes of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles (1993), Nash Bridges (1997), Baywatch (1997), Skinwalkers (2002), My Name is Earl (2005),and Breaking Bad (2013).

During a lifetime as a powwow dancer, Grant combined the dance circuit with his acting career. He also traveled internationally, giving lectures on American Indian culture, and he advocated for the rights and privileges of American Indian military veterans. In 2014 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Oceanside Film Festival. The Native American Music Association named him a Living Legend in 2016 and in 2017 selected his album of music, Don’t Let the Drums Go Silent, as Record of the Year. In 2017 he was appointed to the American Indian Advisory Board of the San Diego Film Foundation, sponsor of the San Diego Film Festival.

Saginaw Grant died on July 28, 2021, in Hollywood, California. He was buried in Stroud, Oklahoma.

Dianna Everett


“Morgan Saginaw Grant,” Vertical File, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City.

“A Conversation with Saginaw Grant,” Indian Country Today, 13 September 2018, https://indiancountrytoday.com, accessed 13 September 2018.

Levi Rickert, “American Indian Actor Saginaw Grant, 85, Passes Away, >Native News Today, 29 July 2021, https://nativenewsonline.net,7/29/2021.


The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Dianna Everett, “Grant, Morgan Saginaw,” The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry.php?entry=GR039.

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