FEBRUARY 27. 2020 - LOS ANGELES, CA – Tantoo Cardinal, the iconic Indigenous actor of Métis descent, was named a 2020 Governor General's Performing Arts Awards (GGPAA) recipient for Lifetime Artistic Achievement in Canada today. The GGPAA recognizes Canadian artists who have made an indelible contribution to cultural life in Canada and around the world. Cardinal joins other 2020 inductees including actress Catherine O'Hara, actor Ryan Reynolds, Canadian singer/songwriter, and First Nations artist Florent Vollant, composer Alexina Louie, choreographer Zab Maboungou and businesswoman Lynda Hamilton, at the April 25 induction ceremony in Ottawa, Canada.
"I'm deeply honored to be receiving this award and recognition for my work as an actress," said Cardinal. "I entered into the performing arts to represent the stories of my people, to provide authenticity for the characters and stories that were being written and told. I'm proud to have portrayed so many amazing Indigenous women in my roles, and I hope that my actions will inspire everyone to represent our role in history and society with truth, grace, and respect."
In a career spanning 50 years and more than 120 films, television and theatre roles, Cardinal has helped transform the face of film and television when it comes to portraying Indigenous people and stories. One of the most widely recognized First Nations actors of her generation, she has portrayed complex and diverse characters and challenged negative stereotypes of Indigenous culture and communities. As a performer, mentor, and cultural and environmental activist, she has blazed a trail with her talent, widening and improving the path for others to follow.
Cardinal was born in 1950 in Fort McMurray, Alberta, and raised in the rural town of Anzac. She was drawn to the profession by her desire to share and support the authentic stories and experiences of Indigenous people.
Her film credits include the Oscar-winning Dances With Wolves (opposite Kevin Costner and Graham Greene), Legends of the Fall (opposite Anthony Hopkins and Brad Pitt), Black Robe, Smoke Signals, Wind River, and the lead role in Falls Around Her. Throughout her career, she has mentored young Indigenous filmmakers, helping them find their voice and make it heard.
She can be seen on the hit ABC TV series "Stumptown," and has held recurring and guest roles in TV series including “SEE,” “Godless,” “Penny Dreadfull,” “Frontier,” "Street Legal," "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman," "North of 60," "Moccasin Flats," "Mohawk Girls," "Longmire," and "Outlander."
Cardinal is a Member of the Order of Canada. Her other awards and honors include a Gemini Award, the Earle Grey Award (Canadian Screen Award) for lifetime achievement, the ACTRA Toronto Award of Excellence, the Clyde Gilmour Award (Toronto Film Critics Association), the Birks Diamond Women in Film Award, and honorary doctorates from four universities.
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