Tantoo Cardinal’s Children: Who are Tantoo Cardinal’s Children?


Tantoo Cardinal, originally named Rose Marie Cardinal, is a renowned Canadian actress with Cree and Métis roots. Born on July 20, 1950, she has made significant contributions to the growth of Aboriginal performing arts in Canada. In recognition of her achievements, Cardinal was honored with membership in the Order of Canada in 2009.

Her early life was spent in the small hamlet of Anzac, Alberta, where she grew up as the youngest of three children. Despite the challenges of living without electricity, Cardinal’s imagination thrived as she played in the bush. Her grandmother, who was of Cree descent, played a crucial role in her upbringing.

She lovingly nicknamed her “Tantoo” after an insect repellent they used while picking blueberries together. Cardinal’s grandmother not only taught her the Cree language and traditional customs but also imparted valuable life lessons about the hardships faced by Métis individuals in Canada. It was during these walks with her grandmother that Cardinal discovered her passion for acting.

Throughout her illustrious career, Cardinal has graced both the screen and stage with her talent. She has appeared in several remarkable films and television series, including “Spirit Bay,” “Dances with Wolves,” “Smoke Signals,” and “North of 60.” In 2012, she showcased her exceptional skills in an all-aboriginal production of William Shakespeare’s “King Lear” at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.

Apart from her acting prowess, Cardinal is also recognized for her activism. In 2011, she, along with Margot Kidder and others, protested the proposed extension of the Keystone Pipeline and was subsequently arrested. In 2017, she received the prestigious Earle Grey Award for lifetime achievement from the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television.

Her commitment to portraying authentic Indigenous characters on screen is evident in her role as a high school principal in the 2018 film “The Grizzlies,” where she tackles social issues in the northwestern Nunavut community of Kugluktuk.

In November 2021, Cardinal was among the distinguished recipients of the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards, a recognition delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tantoo Cardinal’s Children

She has three children: Riel Cardinal, Clifford Cardinal and Cheyenne Cardinal1. Her mother’s name is Julia Cardinal.

Tantoo Cardinal’s journey from her humble beginnings to becoming an esteemed actress and advocate for Indigenous representation is a testament to her talent, resilience, and unwavering commitment to her heritage. Her contributions to Aboriginal performing arts in Canada continue to inspire and pave the way for future generations of Indigenous artists.

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