Gordon Tootoosis, a renowned First Nations actor and activist, passed away on July 5, 2011, at the age of 69.
A Life of Struggle and Success
Tootoosis was born on October 25, 1941, on the Poundmaker reserve in Saskatchewan, Canada.
He was raised in the Plains Cree tradition until he was taken away from his home and placed in a Catholic residential school, where he faced harsh treatment and was forbidden to speak his own language.
He became a social worker and a band chief, and also developed a passion for acting. He landed his first role in the film Alien Thunder in 1974, alongside Chief Dan George and Donald Sutherland. He went on to star in dozens of films and TV shows, such as North of 60, Legends of the Fall, Pocahontas, and Auf Wiedersehen, Pet.
He also became a mentor and a role model for aspiring Aboriginal actors, and a founding member of the board of directors of the Saskatchewan Native Theatre Company.
A Legacy of Hope and Healing
Tootoosis was not only a talented actor, but also a visionary and a leader who dedicated his life to preserving his culture and telling his people’s stories.
Gordon Tootoosis cause of death was a tragic loss for his family, his community, and his fans. But his spirit lives on in his work, his legacy, and his memory. He was a trailblazer, a warrior, and a hero who touched many lives and inspired many generations.