Michelle Thrush
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Michelle Thrush

Michelle Thrush (born February 6, 1967) is a Canadian actress and First Nations activist for Aboriginal Canadians and the other Indigenous peoples of the Americas. She is best known for her leading role as Gail Stoney in Blackstone, for which she won the Gemini Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Continuing Leading Dramatic Role in 2011,[1] and her recurring roles as Sylvie LeBret in North of 60 and Deanna Martin in Arctic Air.

Thrush starred in the Palme d'Or and Cesar award-nominated film Jimmy P: Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian.

Early life

Thrush, who is Cree, was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, Canada,[1] by parents she admits were chronic alcoholics.[2] She recalls being called "Squaw" at Bowness High School and bullied because of her parents' illness. In grade nine she changed schools and attended Calgary's Plains Indian Cultural Survival School. There she felt accepted for the first time. She learned about herself, her language, culture, singing and drumming. She remembers: "They filled in a lot of the voids that my soul was just begging for."[3]

Her childhood hardships affected her profoundly. Though she acted in her first film at 17, it did not occur to her it could be a career. She planned to become a social worker and help children. She met Gordon Tootoosis, a First Nations actor, who told her: "[I]f [acting] is what your heart wants, you need to follow it and be true." At this point her parents were sober. With no other ties to Calgary, at age 20 she moved to Vancouver and found an agent.[3]


Thrush has had a prolific career since its beginning in the 1980s. She began her acting career in film while attending high school. She got her first theatre job when she moved to Vancouver at age 20. She had a small part in the play The Ecstasy of Rita Joe.[2] She portrayed numerous recurring and guest roles in the television series Madison, Northern Exposure, North of 60, Highlander, Forever Knight, Nothing Too Good for a Cowboy, Moccasin Flats and Mixed Blessings.

She has starred in many notable films throughout her career, particularly in films that deal with issues about Indigenous peoples of the Americas, ranging from Canadian Aboriginals to Native Americans/American Indians (U.S.). These include Isaac Littlefeathers, Unnatural & Accidental, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, Skins, Dead Man, Dreamkeeper and Jimmy P: Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian.



Year Title Role Notes
1991 The Dark Wind Shirley Topaha
1993 Madison Charlene Recurring Role: 4 episodes
1993-1997 North of 60 Sylvie LeBret Recurring role: 10 episodes
1994 Northern Exposure Pilot Episode: "Shofar, So Good"
1994 Highlander Sara Lightfoot/Little Deer Recurring: 2 episodes, two separate roles
1995 Children of the Dust Rainbow woman TV miniseries
1995 Forever Knight Marian Blackwing Episode: "Blackwing"
1997 Unwed Father Holly Made-for-TV movie
1997 Viper Grey Hawk Episode: "Wilderness Run"
1998 Ebenezer Ghost of Christmas Past Made-for-TV movie
1998 The Crow: Stairway to Heaven Jane Cogo Episode: "Before I Wake"
1999 Nothing Too Good for a Cowboy Esther's Sister Episode: "Sex Lies and Narrow Escapes"
2000 North of 60:Trial by Fire Sylvia LeBret Made-for-TV movie
2003 Dreamkeeper Morning House Made-for-TV movie
2003-2005 Moccasin Flats Laura Recurring role: 14 episodes
2007 Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee Four Robes HBO Made-for-TV movie
2008-2010 Mixed Blessings Kate Recurring role: 15 episodes
2011-2015 Blackstone Gail Stonee Main cast
2012 Christmas Rescue Rhonda Made-for-TV movie
2012-2014 Arctic Air Deanna Martin Recurring role: 8 episodes
2014 Fargo Sue Roundtree 1 episode
2017-2019 Tin Star Jaclyn Letendre Recurring role
2018 This Blows Driver
2019 Molly of Denali Shyatsoo/Aunt Merna


Year Title Role Notes
1984 Isaac Littlefeathers Sally Littlefeathers First media role
1986 The Wake N/A
1991 The Legend of Kootenai Brown Olivia D'Lonais
1995 Dead Man Nobody's Girlfriend First major film role
2002 Skins Stella
2005 Fugitives Run N/A
2006 Unnatural & Accidental Pink Girl
2007 Pathfinder Indian Mother
2013 Jimmy P: Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian Gayle Picard
2019 Red Snow Big Fran


Year Title Role Notes
2018 Inner Elder Herself One-woman play[2]

Awards and nominations


  1. ^ a b "Cree Actress Michelle Thrush Wins Gemini Award for Rez Drama 'Blackstone'". Indian Country Today, September 15, 2011.
  2. ^ a b c Harpe, Jeremy (January 22, 2018). "Actress Michelle Thrush shares a deep look inside". windspeaker.com. Retrieved 2018.
  3. ^ a b Magnan, Michelle (February 3, 2015). "Meet Actress Michelle Thrush". avenuecalgary.com. Retrieved 2018.
  4. ^ "2013 nominees" (PDF). leoawards.com. Retrieved 2016.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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