You would be hard pressed to find another indigenous actress better known than Tantoo Cardinal. She has appeared in television and film for more than 40 years in North America, most recognizably in Dances With Wolves, Maina, Legends of the Fall, North of 60, Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman and Blackstone. Now, the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists, better known as ACTRA, is presenting the performer with its 2015 Award of Excellence.
Cardinal has received numerous awards in recognition for her work in theatre, film and television. She has also been recognized for her public stand for indigenous sovereignty in Canada; both previously during the protests against the Keystone Pipeline in 2011 and recently stepping into the public eye to address the issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Canada and to demand a public inquiry.
The Award of Excellence was awarded in previous years to numerous other iconic Canadian performers such as Rick Mercer, Colin Mocherie and Sarah Polley. Cardinal will be the first indigenous person to receive this award.
President of ACTRA Toronto Dave Sparrow said in a press release issued earlier this month that Cardinal’s “generosity with her time and wisdom has made her an inspiration to Aboriginal people and her fellow performers alike. Her work celebrates Canada, entertains the world and challenges us all to raise our standards for respect and inclusion.”
Cardinal will be presented the award at the 2015 ACTRA Awards Gala in Toronto this February.