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Tina Keeper

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Tina Keeper

Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Churchill
In office
January 23, 2006 – September 7, 2008
Preceded byBev Desjarlais
Succeeded byNiki Ashton
Personal details
Born (1962-03-20) March 20, 1962 (age 57)
Winnipeg, Manitoba
Political partyLiberal
Professionactress, producer

Tina Keeper, OM (born March 20, 1962) is a Cree actress, film producer and former politician from Canada.[1]

First known for her role as RCMP officer Michelle Kenidi in the CBC Television series North of 60,[2] she was elected to the House of Commons of Canada in the 2006 Canadian federal election, and served as a Liberal Party of Canada Member of Parliament representing the electoral district of Churchill.[1] Following her defeat in the 2008 Canadian federal election she returned to film and television, and continues to work as both an actress and a film producer.


A member of the Norway House Cree Nation in northern Manitoba, she was born in Winnipeg.[3] She is the granddaughter of Olympic long distance runner Joe Keeper and the daughter of Joseph I. Keeper, a member of the Order of Canada, and Phyllis Keeper (née Beardy), an Anglican priest.[1]

Keeper studied history and theatre at the University of Winnipeg.[2] Originally planning to become a history professor, she instead became an actor after getting involved in an indigenous theatre company in Winnipeg.[2]


Keeper had a number of supporting roles in film,[1] most notably in the National Film Board of Canada docudrama short For Angela,[2] before being cast in North of 60 in 1992.[4] She was a five-time Gemini Award nominee for Best Actress in a Continuing Leading Dramatic Role for her work on the series, winning the award at the 11th Gemini Awards in 1997.[5] At the 9th Gemini Awards in 1995, she also received a Gemini nomination for Performance in a Children's or Youth Program or Series, for her performance in For Angela.[6]

Following the end of North of 60 as a regular series, Keeper continued her role as Michelle Kenidi in several North of 60 television films,[7] and appeared in the films Heater, Skins and On the Corner, until she decided to seek the Liberal nomination in Churchill in 2005.[8]

After her election defeat in 2008, she took on both acting and production roles in the APTN drama series Cashing In.[9] More recently she has acted in the television series Mohawk Girls and Heartland, and the films Through Black Spruce and Falls Around Her.

A partner in the film production firm Kistikan Pictures,[3] she was a producer of Through Black Spruce,[10] as well as the films Road of Iniquity, Sky Stories and REDress Redress Project. In 2014 she participated in the creation of Going Home Star, a Royal Winnipeg Ballet production on the theme of indigenous reconciliation.[11]

Political career

Keeper was elected as a Member of Parliament in the 2006 Canadian federal election, representing the Liberal Party in Churchill.[12] She served as the Official Opposition's Critic for Public Health and Canadian Heritage, and as a Special Advisor for Aboriginal Outreach in the 39th Parliament of Canada.[3]

She was defeated in the 2008 Canadian federal election by Niki Ashton of the New Democratic Party,[13] and has not returned to electoral politics since.

She continues to work as a political activist. She currently serves as chair of the board of trustees for the Helen Betty Osborne Memorial Foundation, as a member of the advisory committees of the Urban Shaman Gallery, Red Cross Manitoba and Canadians for a New Partnership, and an honorary witness for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.[3]

Electoral record

2006 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Liberal Tina Keeper 10,159 40.68 +2.3 $75,179
New Democratic Niki Ashton 7,103 28.41 -15.0 $70,290
Independent Bev Desjarlais 4,283 17.15 -26.3 $23,042
Conservative Nazir Ahmad 2,886 11.55 -3.6 $23,875
Green Jeff Fountain 401 1.60 -1.4 $2,837
Independent Brad Bodnar 146 0.58 $69
Total valid votes 24,966 100.00  
Total rejected ballots 90 0.36
Turnout 25,056 53.63 +14.1
  Liberal gain from New Democrat Swing +8.7
2008 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
New Democratic Niki Ashton 8,734 47.76 +19.35 $79,086
Liberal Tina Keeper 5,289 28.74 -11.94
Conservative Wally Daudrich 3,773 20.50 +8.95 $45,616
Green Saara Harvie 606 3.29 +1.69 $28
Total valid votes/Expense limit 18,402 100.00   $91,452
Total rejected ballots 102 0.55 +0.19
Turnout 18,504 40.15 -13.48
  New Democrat gain from Liberal Swing +


In addition to her Gemini Award nominations and win, she is the recipient of a National Aboriginal Achievement Award,[14] three American Indian Film Festival awards for acting and producing, and a 2014 Canadian Civil Liberties Association award for Public Engagement.[15] She was named ACTRA's Woman of the Year in 2017.[3] In June 2017, Keeper received both an honorary doctor of letters from Wilfrid Laurier University,[3] and a Governor General's Meritorious Service Medal for the ballet Going Home Star.[16]

She was named to the Order of Manitoba in 2002.[1]

In December 2019, the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television announced Keeper as the recipient of its Earle Grey Award at the 8th Canadian Screen Awards.[17]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Tina Keeper". The Canadian Encyclopedia, May 14, 2008.
  2. ^ a b c d "TV's maverick Mountie". The Globe and Mail, May 6, 2002.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Activist receives honorary degree". Brantford Expositor, June 7, 2017.
  4. ^ "North of 60: New TV series big break for Alberta talent". Edmonton Journal, October 10, 1992.
  5. ^ "This Hour, Due South take top Geminis: David Cubitt, Tina Keeper land honors as best leading actors". Montreal Gazette, March 3, 1997.
  6. ^ "Major Gemini Nominations". Toronto Star, January 18, 1995.
  7. ^ "Keeper closing out her career at acting level; Cree star wants to make films". Edmonton Journal, March 28, 1999.
  8. ^ "Liberals recruit North of 60 star". Sudbury Star, October 25, 2005.
  9. ^ "APTN casino drama holding a solid hand". Winnipeg Free Press, March 2, 2010.
  10. ^ "It's a great year for Indigenous films at TIFF". Toronto Star, September 6, 2018.
  11. ^ "Ballet meant to educate Canadians about Indian residential schools: commissioner". Canadian Press, October 1, 2014.
  12. ^ "Actress Tina Keeper wins Churchill for Liberals". CBC News. January 24, 2006. Retrieved 2015-12-10.
  13. ^ "12 ridings that surprised". National Post, October 16, 2008.
  14. ^ "Five artists win aboriginal achievement awards". The Globe and Mail, January 14, 2004.
  15. ^ "Two Globe writers honoured by civil liberties association". The Globe and Mail, November 6, 2014.
  16. ^ "List of honourees recognized for indigenous work by Gov. Gen. David Johnston". Canadian Press, June 19, 2017.
  17. ^ Corey Atad, "Alex Trebek, David Suzuki, Dan Levy And More Among 2020 Canadian Screen Awards Special Honourees". ET Canada, December 4, 2019.

External links