Buffy Sainte-Marie

Buffy Sainte-Marie
© Matt Barnes

Buffy Sainte-Marie is an internationally recognized singer-songwriter, composer, visual artist and Indigenous rights activist. Born into the Piapot Plains Cree First Nation in the Qu'Appelle Valley, Saskatchewan, she was orphaned as a very young child and adopted by family members in Massachusetts. Sainte-Marie earned degrees in teaching and Oriental philosophy before completing a Ph.D in Fine Art. By the early 1960s, she had begun to play in coffee houses in New York's Greenwich Village. Sainte-Marie's anti-war song, "Universal Soldier," earned her widespread recognition, even though it was banned from airplay. Throughout her long and distinguished artistic career, she has used her platform to call for world peace, for protection of the environment, and for recognition of Indigenous peoples' rights. The recipient of numerous awards and honours, including the Order of Canada, Sainte-Marie continues to perform widely and to experiment with new musical styles.

“Some people say I was very brave, but I really just didn’t know any better. All I had was my originality.”

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