Here’s a good interview on RaceBending.com by Gabriel Canada with actress Tantoo Cardinal, who does not mince words when it comes to the challenges of being a Native actress in a film industry dominated by non-Natives.
RaceBending is the group that came into being after the outrage over ethnic roles in movies – specifically for Middle Eastern characters in “Prince of Persia” and Asian and Inuit characters in “The Last Airbender” went to Caucasian actors. (See previous post here.)
Cardinal – a Canadian Metis actress who appeared in “Smoke Signals” and “Dancing With Wolves,” among many, many others – insists that “It’s essential that we continue to tell our stories. It’s not enough for us to be the backdrop.”
Canada describes the depth of Cardinal’s experience:
On December 30th, 2009, Cardinal was made a Member of the Order of Canada “for her contributions to the growth and development of Aboriginal performing arts in Canada, as a screen and stage actress, and as a founding member of the Saskatchewan Native Theatre Company.”
It’s a great interview with an impressive woman. Check it out.
And, in the video above, Cardinal talks about her role in “Older Than America,” Georgina Lightning’s film about the atrocities perpetrated upon many Native children in boarding schools. Yet another movie to put on the “to watch’ list.