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  • Date of birth : 25/10/1941
  • Date of death : 05/07/2011

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  • Tootoosis Gordon

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Gordon Tootoosis (1941)

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  Summary  

Gordon Tootoosis, CM (October 25, 1941 – July 5, 2011) was a Canadian actor of Cree and Stoney descent. He was a descendant of Yellow Mud Blanket, brother of the famous Cree leader Pitikwahanapiwiyin. He was acclaimed for his commitment to preserving his culture and to telling his people's stories. He served as a founding member of the board of directors of the Saskatchewan Native Theatre Company. Tootoosis offered encouragement, support and training to aspiring Aboriginal actors. He served as a leading Cree activist both as a social worker and as a band chief. In Open Season and Boog and Elliot's Midnight Bun Run, Tootoosis was the voice of Sheriff Gordy.

He was awarded membership in the Order of Canada on October 29, 2004. The investiture ceremony took place on September 9, 2005. His citation recognizes him as an inspirational role model for Aboriginal youth. It notes that as a veteran actor, he portrayed memorable characters in movie and television productions in Canada and the United States.

  Biography  

Gordon Tootoosis was raised with his 13 siblings in the Plains Cree tradition until he was taken from his home and placed in a Catholic residential school, where he was treated harshly and forbidden to speak his own language. His father, John Tootoosis, was an activist for aboriginal rights, which got the younger Tootoosis into trouble at school.

After his traumatic school years, Tootoosis went into social work, specializing in work with children and young offenders. His interest in his own cultural traditions led him to become an accomplished native dancer and rodeo roper, and he toured with the Plains InterTribal Dance Troupe in the 1960s and 1970s throughout Canada, Europe and South America, becoming one of North America's most popular powwow announcers.

His father was one of the founders of the National Indian Brotherhood and former head of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations . Gordon himself served as the chief of his band and as a vice-president of FSIN. Tootoosis was married to Irene Seseequasis since 1965. They have three daughters and two adopted sons. After their daughter Glynnis died of cancer in 1997, they took the responsibility of raising her four children in Saskatoon.

Tootoosis died on July 5, 2011, aged 69, after being hospitalized for pneumonia at St. Paul's Hospital in Saskatoon.

His funeral and interment were held on the Poundmaker Cree Nation Reserve.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Gordon Tootoosis", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.