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This article was published 5/7/2011 (3285 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
NORTH BATTLEFORD, Sask. - Saskatchewan-born actor and aboriginal activist Gordon Tootoosis has died at the age of 69 after a brief illness.
Tootoosis, a Cree from the Poundmaker First Nation, was one of the stars of CBC's "North of 60" television series.
His long career ranged from the 1973 film "Alien Thunder" with Donald Sutherland and Chief Dan George to 1996's "Legends of the Fall" with Brad Pitt.
Tootoosis, who was awarded the Order of Canada in 2004, was also an accomplished stage actor and a founding member of the board of directors of the Saskatchewan Native Theatre Company.
Assembly of First Nations national Chief Shawn Atleo called Tootoosis "a Cree and Canadian cultural icon."
He said Tootoosis will be remembered as a talented, dedicated and multi-faceted individual.
"He was truly extraordinary," said Atleo. "He survived the tragedy of the residential schools and used that experience in a positive way to help his people, serving as a social worker for youth and young offenders."
Despite his success in the entertainment industry, Tootoosis always made his home on the Poundmaker reserve and used to joke that the movers and shakers in Hollywood knew where to find him.
He recently starred in "Gordon Winter," a play by Saskatoon playwright Kenneth T. Williams that was featured at the Prairie Scene festival in Ottawa.
"He imbued every role he took on with humanity and complexity," said Atleo. "He made a difference to those who knew him personally as well as those who knew him only through his performances."
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