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Tantoo Cardinal Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (2) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trivia (14) | Personal Quotes (3)

Overview (2)

Born in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada
Birth NameRose Marie Cardinal

Mini Bio (1)

Actress Tantoo Cardinal, a Member of the Order of Canada, one of the country's highest civilian honors. The Order of Canada recognizes Cardinal for her contributions to the growth and development of Aboriginal performing arts in Canada.

Arguably the most widely recognized Native Actress of her generation; Tantoo has appeared in numerous plays, television programs, and films, including Legends of the Fall, Dances With Wolves, Black Robe, Loyalties, Luna, Spirit of the Whale, Unnatural & Accidental, Marie-Anne, Sioux City, Silent Tongue, Mother's & Daughter's and Smoke Signals. Recent work includes the films Eden, Maina, Shouting Secrets and From Above.

Her stirring performance in Loyalties earned her a Genie nomination, American Indian Film Festival Best Actress Award, the People's choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival, plus Best Actress Awards at International Film Festivals in Zimbabwe and Portugal.

Cardinal was just honored with the 2015 ACTRA Award of Excellence, other honors include Best Actress - Elizabeth Sterling Award in Theatre for All My Relations, First Americans in the Arts Totem Award for her portrayal of the character Katrina in Widows at the Forum Stage in Los Angeles. She won the American Indian Film Festival's Best Actress Award as well as the first Rudy Martin Award for Outstanding Achievement by a Native American in Film for Where the Rivers Flow North, a Gemini Award for North of 60 and a Leo Award for Blackstone.

Her television credits include recurring roles on the series: Blackstone, The Killing, Arctic Air, Strange Empire,The Guard, North of 60, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, The Lightening Field, Street Legal, The Campbell's, Gunsmoke, Tom Stone, Myth Quest, Lonesome Dove and Renegade Press.com. MOW's include Full Flood, The Englishman's Boy, Dreamkeeper and the PBS documentary Nobody's Girls.

For her contributions to the Native Artistic community, Cardinal won the Eagle Spirit Award. She has also been honored with the MacLeans' magazine Honor Roll as Actress of the Year, the Outstanding Achievement Award from the Toronto Women in Film and Television, an International Women in Film Award for her lasting contribution to the arts, and induction to the CBC/Playback Hall of Fame.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: MGG

Spouse (2)

John Lawlor (1988 - 2000) (divorced) (1 child)
Fred Martin (1968 - 1976) (divorced) (1 child)

Trivia (14)

She is "métis," the French cognate of Spanish "mestizo," indicating a person of mixed American Aboriginal and European ancestry (usually an Algonquian ethnic group and a Celtic and/or French ethnic group). Cardinal is Cree and French.
In 1993 she received an honorary degree from the University of Rochester.
Daughter with husband John Lawlor, Riel. She was named after Louis Riel, the Métis father of Manitoba (which originated as a quasi-independent Métis nation, of which Riel was the first and only president).
Other children, Cheynne and Clifford.
Was member of the dramatic jury at the Sundance Film Festival in 1994.
Native activism was reaching its height in the late 60s and early 1970s when she began experimenting with acting. As a young actress, Cardinal began her career with a docudrama for the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. (CBC) and in productions for the Alberta Native Communications Society.
Learned Lakota for the Academy Award-winning film, Dances with Wolves (1990).
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). She also accepted the Sun Hill Award for Excellence in Native American Filmmaking.
Performed in a series of one-hour documentaries called "As Long as the Rivers Flow," about Native Canadians' drive for self-government.
She married Fred Martin following high school graduation. The marriage suffered by her strong social activism which for the most part took her away from her husband and son Cheyenne. The marriage ended in 1976 and Fred went on to raise their son.
Born in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, the first child of of a Metis woman named Julia Cardinal, she was raised by her maternal Cree grandmother in Anzac, Alberta (her step-grandfather was English).
Lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. [November 2004]
Lives in Vancouver, BC, Canada. [January 2008]
Moved to Lyndonville, Vermont, USA in 1994 after shooting the movie Where the Rivers Flow North (1993).

Personal Quotes (3)

We had no TV where I grew up in my community in northern Canada, and the only images of native people that I was exposed to were my family and my relatives; these were wonderful and strong individuals whom I looked up to. It was only when I moved to Edmonton in Alberta in 1965, that I saw a different kind of image that was prevalent in Canadian society at that time, a negative image of native peoples as having no fixed address, and of being somehow 'lesser than.' Acting for me was a way to redress this imbalance; acting allows me to present a different kind of truth, to bring some light back into the stories of our history.
Life in the business is also highly challenging. Sometimes you are dissatisfied, it's difficult sometimes. You're always thinking of how it could be better. It's a 20-legged race, you don't work alone. There are so many others working to tell the same story. We as Indian artists don't have the luxury of being individuals. We represent ages and ages. The work of an artist is a highly responsible one."
I got into acting through my political involvement, through a sense of justice. I wanted to see things change, to offset some of the lies that have been told about us throughout history. The attitude of the public back in the '60s was so backward and ill-informed. By the time I found out about our history and how we were treated, I was in a rage. It was really a time of darkness and great frustration. There was an incredible wall we had to get through." ...[The] Canadian Content Rule, which came into existence in the mid 1960s, was the beginning to opening doors and minds. It resulted in producers actually casting real Native people to play Native roles.

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