Toronto, ON (March 8, 2011) – ACTRA’s National Women’s Committee shines the spotlight on Tantoo Cardinal on International Women’s Day.

“Tantoo Cardinal’s work ranges from Canadian TV to independent film to Hollywood blockbusters to live theatre,” said Christine Willes, Chair of the ACTRA National Women’s Committee. “The depth and honesty of her performances never cease to inspire and move us. On this centenary anniversary of International Women’s Day, ACTRA’s Women’s Committee salutes Tantoo for her contributions to the growth and development of Aboriginal performing arts in Canada and for her being a role model and an inspiration to all women performers across the country.”

Tantoo Cardinal has appeared in many memorable films in Canada and the U.S., including Dances with Wolves, Black Robe, Legends of the Fall, Unnatural & Accidental, and Mothers & Daughters. Her stirring performance in Loyalties earned her a Genie nomination, an American Indian Film Festival Best Actress Award, the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival, plus Best Actress Awards at International Film Festivals in Zimbabwe and Portugal. Tantoo’s impressive television credits include recurring roles in The Guard, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, The Lightening Field, Street Legal, The Campbell’s, Gunsmoke, Tom Stone, Myth Quest, Lonesome Dove, Shattered, Moccasin Flats, Windy Acres, Search and Rescue, Spirit Bay and RenegadePress.com. For her unforgettable role as Betty Moses on North of 60, Tantoo won a 1996 Best Performance Gemini Award.

“I am deeply grateful to my community of peers to shine this spotlight on me,” said Tantoo Cardinal. “Shirley Douglas is the previous recipient of this honour and I celebrate being in such good company on International Women’s Day.”

Born in Anzac, Fort McMurray, Alberta, Tantoo’s mother Julia Cardinal was Métis of Cree descent. For her contributions to the Native Artistic community, Cardinal won the Eagle Spirit Award. Other awards include the Macleans magazine honour roll as Actress of the Year in 1991 and again in 1993, the 1993 Outstanding Achievement Award from the Toronto Women in Film and Television (WIFT), and the 2007 Sun Hill Award for Excellence in Native American Filmmaking. Tantoo has been awarded an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from the University of Rochester and was made a member of the Order of Canada in 2009.

The ACTRA Women’s Committee’s mandate includes exploring the concerns of all female ACTRA members, raising awareness of these issues and supporting women within ACTRA and in the audio-visual industry as whole. Tantoo Cardinal is the second member to be recognized for her artistic and advocacy achievements on this date. In 2010, Shirley Douglas was recognized for her many contributions.

ACTRA (Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists) is the national organization of professional performers working in the English-language recorded media in Canada. ACTRA represents the interests of 21,000 members across Canada – the foundation of Canada’s highly acclaimed professional performing community.

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Media Contact: Carol Taverner, Public Relations Officer, ACTRA, Tel: 416-644-1519, ctaverner@actra.ca

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