10 things you don't know about Tantoo Cardinal

Find out 10 things you didn't know about her including whether she prefers bannock or frybread.

Cree/Métis actor honoured by ACTRA with award of excellence for over 100 film and TV credits

Tantoo Cardinal received the award of excellence for acting achievement from ACTRA on February 20, 2015. (Nadya Kwandibens, Red Works)

Tantoo Cardinal has over 100 film and television credits to her name. She is without a doubt one of the most prolific actors in Canada. She's appeared in TV shows like North of 60, Arctic Air, Mohawk Girls and Strange Empire. Her list of films include Dances With Wolves, Legends of the Fall and Smoke Signals

Last week she was recognized for her work with the award of excellence from ACTRAAlliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists.

Tantoo answers 10 quick questions:

1. How  many children do you have?

2. What was your first major motion picture?
Marie Ann
(In the 1978 film, her character’s name is Tantou and she appears as Tantoo Martin in the credits.)

3. Who was your favourite co-star of all time and why?
I don’t know. That’s kind of unfair. Gordon Tootoosis - maybe? We have the longest history, 40 years. And we came through the times where we’d be the only brown people on set.

4. Who did you go to jail with?
Margot Kidder. 
(Kidder played Lois Lane in the 80s adaptation of Superman. Hint: They were protesting the Keystone XL pipeline together.)

5. What’s your favourite song to jig to?
The Red River Jig

6. Who is your celebrity crush?
I don’t have one. There’s so much talent out there. My crush ison people who are just such intense actors.

7. What is the one thing you cannot travel without?
My crossword puzzle book. 
She uses pencil.)

8. What kind of car do you drive?
A Toyota Prius. It is energy efficient and to move in the direction of using less, needing less and being less of a burden on what Mother Earth is providing all the time. She’s always giving, giving, giving.

9. What is the one piece of advice you’d give to indigenous people?
Keep learning your language, keep learning everything that you can. Read, read, read. Think, think, think. Talk, talk, talk. Prayer, prayer, prayer. And if you’re hearing some garbage in your head, get rid of it.

10. Bannock or frybread?
Bannock — baked.

Tantoo joins Unreserved`s host Rosanna Deerchild for a chat about her career, environmental activism and how the portrayal of indigenous women has changed over the course of her career.

Tune into CBC Radio One after the 5 p.m. news in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Nunavut, and after the 4 p.m. news in Yukon and the N.W.T. for these stories and more on Unreserved. 

You can also listen on demand.​


Kim Wheeler is an Anishinabe/Mohawk. She is a writer and an award-winning producer living in Winnipeg. Her work on the CBC radio series ReVision Quest garnered a New York Festival silver medal and two ImagineNative awards. Wheeler currently works as an associate producer for the CBC Aboriginal Digital Unit and Unreserved on CBC Radio One.