CAn accomplished and celebrated actress, Tantoo Cardinal has advanced Aboriginal performing arts throughout the world. Known for her authenticity, she has brought to life complex and diverse Aboriginal characters and has worked to dispel stereotypes. Her performances on stage and in both film and television have helped to blaze a trail in an industry where few roles for Aboriginal women previously existed. Her 80 plus credits include North of 60, Shattered, Legends of the Fall, Dances With Wolves, Black Robe, Loyalties, Education of Little Tree, Luna, Spirit of the Whale, Unnatural & Accidental, Sioux City, Silent Tongue, Smoke Signals and Mother’s & Daughter’s.
Acting and speaking are but a few of the ways she contributes to society, dedicating her life to ensuring Aboriginal people, their cultures and the historic and current issues impacting their communities are fairly represented throughout the arts. A founding member of the Saskatchewan Native Theatre Company, she serves as an inspirational role model to aspiring youth. Her performances in projects like the “Vagina Monologues” seek to raise awareness of the shocking level of violence against Aboriginal women in Canada and to support women who are struggling with the issue of violence.
In 2010 Tantoo was inducted as a Member into the Order of Canada for her outstanding contributions. Other honors include a National Aboriginal Achievement award, the Harvard University Sunhill Award for excellence in Aboriginal film making and four honorary doctorates: University of Rochester, doctor of Fine Arts, University of St. Lawrence, Doctor of Arts; University of Calgary, Doctor of Laws; and, Fraser Valley University, Doctor of Letters.k to add text, images, and other content