Tanis was born and raised in Peace River, Alberta, Canada. She is a member of the Métis Nation of Alberta and is of Cree and Sioux descent. As a life-long athlete, Tanis was never a stranger to performance. She was a competitive figure skater for 15 years and was cast in a local production of The Sound of Music at a young age. Tanis now holds a Bachelor of Physical Education in Physical Activity and Sport Performance from the University of Alberta and a Master of Fine Arts in Acting from The New School for Drama.
Tanis is best known for playing JANE HALFTOWN, Cayuga Tribal Council Leader, on Billions opposite Paul Giamatti; LACY COUSINS, Ocheole Tribal Chairwoman on Designated Survivor opposite Kiefer Sutherland; and TAMMY, the Native American waitress on House of Cards opposite Michael Kelly.
As a producer her inaugural film A Big Black Space won Best Canadian Short at Dreamspeakers International Indigenous Film Festival, won the Royal Reel Award at the Canada International Film Festival, was nominated for Best Live Action Short at the 12th Red Nation Film Festival, garnered a broadcasting deal on ARTÉ in Germany, France and Belgium and is screening at events in colleges and universities all over North America.
Tanis is proud to say she has graduated with both Wayne Gretzky (UofA) and Tony Kushner (NSD) who each received honorary degrees the same years she completed hers.
Tanis lives out her passion for performing with tremendous support from her family and friends, and with a duty to Louis Riel, who is quoted as saying,
My people will sleep for one hundred years, but when they awake, it will be the artists who give them their spirit back.