The art and reality of Native life: an interview with Carmen Moore

Carmen Moore is an accomplished actress from British Columbia of Wet’suwet’en, Scottish, and Irish ancestry. You might have seen her on Battlestar Galactica, Stargate Atlantis, Supernatural, Godivas or Arctic Air. Carmen is currently on the highly successful TV show Blackstone playing the character Leona Stoney. In its first 3 seasons, Blackstone has been nominated for some 72 awards, and has won 28 of them. The series currently broadcasts through APTN in Canada, and is also aired in New Zealand, Australia, and the HULU network in the United States. We’re happy to say that Carmen took some time out of her busy schedule to speak with the Two Row Times.

Who is your character Leona Stoney on Blackstone?

Leona is a drug and alcohol addictions councillor, and a former addict herself. She’s been clean and sober a number of years, moved to the ‘city’ and became quite successful in her field. She returns to Blackstone, her home Reservation, and is talked into running for chief after a tragedy, and some things come to light about how things are being run in the Band office.

What makes Blackstone different from other TV shows?
I don’t think there is another show like Blackstone. We’ve been called the “Native Soprano’s” and been compared to “The Wire.” Our writers rip story lines from the headlines and they don’t apologize for the realism of our show. It’s not always an easy watch. It can get pretty dark at times.

We’ve dealt with everything from Band politics, addiction, family dynamics, missing women, foster care, oil and gas, to what it’s like for kids to leave the Reserve and go to school in the city. It’s life and love, and everything in between. But you could put anyone from any race/culture in these same roles and it would still make sense. Anyone can relate and has experienced something like what’s happening on Blackstone. It’s first and foremost a TV show, meant for entertainment, but it tackles real life issues while doing that.

What are some of your production projects?
I have production credits on two Feature Films, ‘Two Indians Talking’ and ‘White Indians Walking’ as well as a short film called ‘Not Indian Enough.’ I’m currently in very early stages of producing a trilogy of films starting with ‘Hunting Indians’. All written by Andrew Genaille. You can tell by the titles.

How did it feel to win the Leo award for Blackstone and what does that mean to you?
The first Leo was a shock, and the second Leo was even more of a shock! I was convinced that since they had given me one in 2011, that they wouldn’t give me another one, but lo and behold they called my name. It’s really an honour to be recognized in your home province for the work you’ve done, and by the people you know and love in the industry who have watched your career for many years. The Leos are such a fun night anyway, but to walk away with a trophy makes you feel pretty special. Hopefully this year we’ll get to go to the Canadian Screen Awards again! It’s been a few years in a row now for us. (2011 it was still the Gemini’s, but has since been changed to the CSA’s)

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