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Tantoo Cardinal

(b. July 20, 1950 Fort McMurray, Alberta)

A Métis raised by her Cree grandmother in the rural, northern community of Anzac, Alberta, Tantoo Cardinal is one of the most compelling and successful native actors of her generation.

A prominent member of the Alberta theatre community since the early seventies, Cardinal came to acting from her experience as an activist, campaigning for more native schools in northern Alberta. She made her film debut in the CBC docudrama Father Lacombe in 1971. That same year, she became president of United Native Youth, an Edmonton-based support group for native youth. Committed to bringing complex native characters to the screen, she went on to a series of one-hour documentaries called As Long as the Rivers Flow, about Native Canadians’ drive for self-government.

She first captured national attention with her role in Anne Wheeler’s Loyalties (1986), which earned her a Genie nomination for Best Actress. She has also appeared in the Academy Award®-winning Dances with Wolves (1990), the Genie Award-winning Black Robe (1991), Legends of the Fall (1994) and Smoke Signals (1998). Her extensive television experience includes appearances on “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman,” “Street Legal,” “Moccasin Flats” and her Gemini-winning recurring role in the popular Canadian television series “North of 60.”

Cardinal has received many awards in recognition of her acting accomplishments and her dedication to the native community, including: the Best Actress Award at the American Indian Film Festival in San Francisco, the Theatrical Sterling Award for Best Actress in “All My Relations” (1990), the Native Indian Film Festival’s Eagle Spirit Award for lifetime contribution to the native artistic community, and an Outstanding Achievement award from the Toronto chapter of Women in Film and Television (WIFT).

Cardinal lives with her husband, American actor John Lawlor, and their three children in Vermont.

Film and video work includes

He Comes Without Calling, 1975 (actor)
Marie-Anne, 1978 (actor)
Death Hunt, 1981 (actor)
New Day - New Horizon, 1982 (actor)
Running Brave, 1983 (actor)
Places Not Our Own, 1986 (actor)
Candy Mountain, 1987 (actor)
Gunsmoke: Return to Dodge, 1987 (actor; TV)
War Party, 1989 (actor)
Dances With Wolves, 1990 (actor)
Divided Loyalties, 1990 (actor)
Pathfinders, 1991 (actor)
By Way of the Stars, 1992-1993 (actor; TV)
Mustard Bath, 1992 (actor)
North of 60 series, 1992-1997 (actor; TV, 7 episodes)
Street Legal series, 1992 (actor; TV, 2 episodes)
Before Columbus - Programme One: Invasion, 1993 (narrator)
Before Columbus - Programme Two: Conversion, 1993 (narrator)
Before Columbus - Programme Three: Rebellion, 1993 (narrator)
Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman series, 1993-1995 (actor; TV, 7 episodes)
Harts of the West, 1993 (actor; TV, 1 episode)
Healing Journey, 1993 (narrator)
Silent Tongue, 1993 (actor)
Spirit Rider, 1993 (actor)
Where the Rivers Flow North, 1993 (actor)
Lakota Woman: Siege at Wounded Knee, 1994 (actor)
Legends of the Fall, 1994 (actor)
Sioux City, 1994 (actor)
500 Nations, 1995 (actor; TV)
Nobody's Girls, 1995 (actor; TV)
Tecumseh: The Last Warrior, 1995 (actor; TV)
The Education of Little Tree, 1996 (actor)
Lonesome Dove series, 1996 (actor; TV, 1 episode)
Lewis & Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery, 1997 (narrator; TV)
Silence, 1997 (actor)
Cold Squad series, 1998 (actor; TV, 1 episode)
Smoke Signals, 1998 (actor)
A Stranger in the Kingdom, 1998 (actor)
Big Bear, 1999 (actor)
The Hi-Line, 1999 (actor)
In Jest, 1999 (actor)
Blood River, 2000 (actor)
The Lost Child, Hallmark Hall of Fame series, 2000 (actor; TV)
Navigating the Heart, 2000 (actor; TV)
Postmark Paradise, 2000 (actor)
Dodson's Journey, 2001 (actor; TV)
Family Law series, 2001 (actor; TV, 1 episode)
Heartwood, 2001 (actor)
MythQuest series, 2001 (actor; TV, 1 episode)
Nagi Kicopi - Calling Back the Spirit, 2001 (narrator)
Disappearances, 2002 (actor)
Stories from the Seventh Fire, 2002 (associate producer; voice)
Tom Stone series, 2002 (actor; TV, 1 episode)
Dreamkeeper, 2003 (actor; TV)
Edge of Madness, 2003 (actor)
Moccasin Flats, 2003 (actor; TV)
A Thief of Time, 2003 (actor; TV)
World VDay 'Until the Violence Stops', 2003 (appears as herself)
H2O, 2004 (actor; TV)
Memory, 2004 (actor)
Windy Acres, 2004 (actor; TV)

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