This is the latest installment in a series of "Character Insight" articles regarding the rich history of characters in the Star Trek universe. An audio version will appear on the This Week in Trek podcast, available for direct download here.
Welcome back to Character Insight! This week, our subject is Commander Chakotay from Voyager.
Chakotay served as First Officer aboard the USS Voyager. Before joining the crew of Voyager, Chakotay was the commanding officer of the Maquis ship Val Jean, which was thrown into the Delta Quadrant with Voyager.
When the two ships decided to merge crews aboard Voyager, Chakotay served a critical role in making the former Maquis crew members integrate into the Starfleet crew. By showing absolute loyalty to Captian Janeway, Chakotay ensured that other valuable crew members worked well in the new Starfleet crew, most importantly Chief Engineer B'Elanna Torres.
Chakotay is a Native American whose ancestors were also the ancestors of the Mayans in Central America and Mexico. Chakotay grew up with little appreciation of his culture until his father's death while serving in Starfleet. As a result of this death, Chakotay joined the Maquis to continue his father's fight and embraced all the history and tradition of his Native American culture, including getting the distinctive tattoo on his face.
This tradition comes up often on the show, as Chakotay uses tribal legends and stories passed down through the generations to share wisdom with other crew members. Chakotay also frequently seeks communion with his fathers spirit on vision quests.
Chakotay has a passion for archaeology, reading, and art. Chakotay is a vegetarian who enjoys mushroom soup but dislikes other vegetables like carrots. He also is a fan of sumo wrestling and boxing, which he uses to relax and blow off steam.
Chakotay also becomes romantically involved with various crew members during the journey back to the Alpha quadrant, including the Cardassian Seska, Seven of Nine, and Captain Janeway briefly.
One Notable Quote comes from Initiations in season 2 (episode 2):
A-koo-chee-moya. I pray on this day of memories, to speak to my father -
the one whom the wind called... Kolopak. Though I'm far from his bones,
perhaps there is a spirit in these unnamed skies who will find him, and
honor him with my song. A-koo-chee-moya.
Best Episodes Featuring Chakotay:
Tattoo, season 2 episode 9
Unity, season 3 episode 17
One Small Step, season 6 episode 8
Actor: Robert Beltran plays Chakotay, and his most notable work outside Star Trek include recurring roles on the recent series Big Love and the mid-90's series Models, Inc.