Tantoo Cardinal joins Outlander Season 4 as book character with name change

Photo credit: Outlander/Starz Image acquired via Starz Media Room
Photo credit: Outlander/Starz Image acquired via Starz Media Room /

Outlander Season 4 cast a number of Native men, women, and children for roles in the story. Tantoo Cardinal is one joining the cast, but her character’s name isn’t one from the books. She’s still in the books though!

Tantoo Cardinal is one of the many Native Americans joining the cast of Outlander Season 4. She’s included in the recent promo photos released by STARZ, but there’s something important to note: her character isn’t one named in the books. However, she is based on a book character.

It’s no secret that the show has made some changes over the years from the original book story. For example, Mr. Willoughby’s story was adapted considerably from the book version, making him more loyal, likable, and friendly. Most of the time, the changes make sense. Changing the name of this character doesn’t!

Tantoo Cardinal will take on the role of Adawhei. In the single photo officially shared by STARZ, she is talking to Claire and it certainly looks like they’re engrossed in conversation.

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While the name isn’t recognizable, Diana Gabaldon has confirmed that this is a character in the books. The name is just different, leading to many book fans suspecting that this is Nayawenne. What fans can’t figure out is why Outlander Season 4 would feel the need to change her name.

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Tantoo Cardinal
TORONTO, ON – SEPTEMBER 12: Tantoo Cardinal attends the premiere of “Hold The Dark” during the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival on September 12, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Netflix) /

Nayawenne is an extremely important character from the books and connects with Claire through their love for nature, plant properties, and healing people. Nayawenne is a shaman for the Tuscarora people in Anna Ooka. Her first encounter with Claire involves the discussing of medical properties in plants, which could certainly be happening in the photo released.

For those who haven’t read the books, I won’t go into the details in this post (maybe another one later this week) of what happens to Nayawenne. Of course, there’s no guarantee that the same storyline will follow in Outlander Season 4.

If you think you recognize Tantoo, that’s likely because you’ve seen her other work. The Canadian actress is a member of the Order of Canada (one of the highest civilian honors in the country) and has been in a number of Wild West movies and TV shows since her first credit in 1975. You’ll know her from the likes of Mohawk GirlsFrontierGodless, and Blackstone and those are just her recent roles. Bull fans will recognize her as Chief Tsosie from the episode “Play the Hand You’re Dealt.”

Next. 6 most highly anticipated moments in Outlander Season 4. dark

Are you confused at why Tantoo Cardinal’s character’s name is different? Are you excited to see her in Outlander Season 4? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Outlander Season 4 premieres on Nov. 4 at 8/7c on STARZ.