Gordon Tootoosis, one of Indian Country's most beloved and well-known actors, has died at 69.
Tootoosis, who was from the Poundmaker Cree Nation in Saskatchewan, starred in almost every major Indigenous film and television series over the course of his storied and accomplished career.
From early roles in Alien Thunder, Black Robe and North of 60 to his more recent appearances in Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee and Blackstone, Tootoosis was an icon of Indigenous film, theatre, and television.
We first learned of his passing Tuesday afternoon as the news broke on Twitter:
His death was later confirmed by CBC News:
Celebrated actor Gordon Tootoosis has died, a family member is confirming to CBC News.
The cause of death was not immediately available but he was recently hospitalized for treatment of pneumonia. Tootoosis was 69.
He was born on the Poundmaker Reserve in rural Saskatchewan.
In addition to his film and television work, Tootoosis was also active in First Nations politics.
He was made a member of the Order of Canada in 2004 for his achievements as "an inspirational role model for Aboriginal youth."
Tootoosis was taken from his home as a youngster and placed in the Indian Residential School system. Like many in the system, Tootoosis endured harsh circumstances at the school.
As an adult, he became a social worker and was a band chief for a time.
Our hearts go out to the Tootoosis family and Gordon's many friends and supporters. He will be dearly missed.
May he rest in peace.
Here is a wonderful video tribute to his life and work from 2007:
[video via Native American Sublime]