Hundreds of people gathered Friday on the PoundmakerNation northwest of Saskatoon for the funeral of actor Gordon Tootoosis. The renowned actor died earlier this week due to complications from pneumonia.
Tootoosis, 69, was born on the reserve. He had made his home there even as he maintained a busy film, television and theatre career. A nephew said:"He was not just the actor, but he was a man. He was a father. A great husband,". "It was always great to be around him. There was always jokes. There was always stories." Media were not allowed at the funeral.
An obituary notice said "Gordon's wish was for people to celebrate his life more so than mourn his death,". "He will be missed and so fondly remembered by all of those who knew and loved him."
Tootoosis acted in over 80 productions ranging from the 1973 film Alien Thunder withand Chief Dan George to 1996's Legends of the Fall with Brad Pitt. Tootosis was also featured in the CBC television series North of 60.
Tootoosis 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 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. Tootoosis was to be buried in a family plot on the reserve. Material is abstracted from the CBC and Canadian Press.