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Buffy Sainte-Marie (1941 - )
Musician, artist and activist
Buffy Sainte-Marie
Buffy Sainte-Marie, ca. 1989.
(Barbara Woodley/Labatt Breweries of Canada/National Archives of Canada/PA-203285.
Acquired with the assistance of a grant from the Minister of Communications under the terms
of the Cultural Property Import & Export Review Act.)

Buffy Sainte-Marie is an internationally renowned singer and songwriter, as well as a talented artist, educator and political activist. She is a passionate advocate of Native Americans.

Buffy Sainte-Marie was born to Cree parents on the Piapot Reserve near Regina, Saskatchewan. Orphaned as an infant, she was raised in Massachusetts where her adopted mother (part Micmac) recounted stories of Indian history. By the age of four the musical child had taught herself to play the piano. After receiving a guitar for her sixteenth birthday Buffy began writing songs for her new instrument. Her music developed as she attended university, where Buffy studied Oriental philosphy. Following graduation with a BA the honours student began singing in coffee houses in New York's Greenwich Village. Recording contracts and nightclub performances soon launched Buffy Sainte-Marie to stardom. She also managed to find the time to complete her PhD in 1983.

Buffy Sainte-Marie gained fame for war protest songs (such as "Universal Soldier" on her debut album) as well as her ballads and songs about native peoples. Throughout her career she has devoted much of her time and resources to supporting Native Americans through a variety of educational programs. Her many intiatives include the founding of the Native North American Women's Association, a scholarship fund for Native American law students, teaching music and art at the Saskatchewan Federated Indian College, and the Cradleboard Teaching Project to connect children on-line. In 1997 Buffy Sainte-Marie was selected as the Native American Philanthropist of the Year.

Discover more

Buffy Sainte-Marie

Buffy Sainte-Marie book
  • Bataille, Gretchen M., editor. Native American Women: A Biographical Dictionary. New York & London: Garland Publishing, 1993.
  • Gridley, Marion E., editor. Indians of Today. Chicago: ICFP, 1971.
  • Hunter, Shaun. Visual & Performing Artists. New York & Niagara-on-the-Lake: Crabtree Pub.Co., c. 1999.
    For Young Readers.
  • Stonechild, Blair. Buffy Sainte-Marie: It's My Way. Fifth House Publishers, 2012.
  • Sainte-Marie, Buffy. The Buffy Saine-Marie Songbook. New York: Grosset and Dunlap, 1971.
  • Sainte-Marie, Buffy. Buffy Sainte-Marie: It's My Way. Fifth House Publishers, 2012.


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