One of the stars of the Oscar-winning movie The Revenant will be in the Peace region next week speaking with local students. In the 2015 film, Duane Howard plays Elk Dog, a native leader looking for his missing daughter.

He began acting in 1990, but spent 13 years before that living on the streets of Vancouver, B.C. When he tours 10 Peace Wapiti School Division schools, he’ll be talking to the grade 6 to 12 students about how he got sober, finished a degree in substance abuse counselling, and turned his life around.

“Ending up with the lead native role on The Revenant is nearly as miraculous as my survival on the streets,” he says. “I had decided to take a break from the business the year before the audition call for the part of ‘Elk Dog’ came out, and it was that role that brought me back to acting. Today, I am very grateful for all that I have, including my three children.”

Howard is the latest speaker brought up for a First Nations, Metis and Inuit tour. They’re aimed at giving Aboriginal students positive role models and breaking down negative stereotypes.