Noted Actress Irene Bedard to give IAIA Commencement Address

Irene Bedard

Published May 2, 2017

SANTA FEIrene Bedard  has been selected to give the Institute of American Indian Arts’ 2017 commencement address at 11:00 am on Saturday, May 13, 2017.  The Commencement Ceremony will be held in the Dance Circle on the IAIA Campus, — 83 Avan Nu Po Road, on the South Side of Santa Fe — just minutes from the intersection of Rodeo Road and Richards Avenue.  The public is welcome to attend.

Bedard was born in Anchorage, Alaska, and is of Inupiat, Yupik, Inuit, Cree and Métis ancestry. Her first role was as Mary Crow Dog in the television production, Lakota Woman: Siege at Wounded Knee, which depicted the 1970s standoff between police and Native Americans, many of the Pine Ridge Reservation, at Wounded Knee, South Dakota. She is probably best known as the voice of the eponymous heroine in the Disney animated film Pocahontas and its direct-to-video sequel Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World. Bedard was also the physical model for the character. She appeared in a different take of the story in Terence Malick’s 2005 film The New World, as Pocahontas’s mother, Nonoma Winanuske Matatiske. Bedard attended The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where she studied Musical Theater. In 2005, she was cast in the television mini-series Into the West, portraying the half-Lakota, half-white adult Margaret “Light Shines” Wheeler. Bedard is known for bringing a powerful emotional presence to her characters. She was chosen in 1995 as one of People magazine’s ’50 Most Beautiful People.’

Also in 1995, she was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV: Lakota Woman: Siege at Wounded Knee. In 2004 she won and American Indian LA Film and TV Award for Best Lead Actress in a Feature Film for: Greasewood Flat.

To stream the event on-line, please visit on the morning of commencement.

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