CBC Digital Archives

Buffy Sainte-Marie, artist and educator

media clip
It's the term she's chosen for one of her many projects, but it applies equally well to Buffy Sainte-Marie herself: Creative Native. Thirty years into her career, she's not only still writing and performing her music, but also using a computer for recording and editing it. Sainte-Marie has embraced technology as a tool for her art and continues her advocacy for aboriginal people with the Cradleboard Teaching Project. In this 1994 clip, Sainte-Marie demonstrates her creative process for CBC-TV host Adrienne Clarkson.
• In 1998 Buffy Sainte-Marie denounced the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation, which had given her a Lifetime Achievement Award that year, for commercializing and exploiting aboriginal culture on its televised awards ceremony. Sainte-Marie distanced herself from "certain offensive and exploitive aspects" of the live show, including dancers dressed up as "devils" - a concept that does not exist in aboriginal culture. "My work from the very beginning has been immersed in a love for accuracy in portraying native North American cultures, and not sacrificing that regard for show business values," she wrote in a letter published in Windspeaker magazine.

• Sainte-Marie is also a visual artist who uses computers to create her works. She was the subject of a 2006 documentary about her music, art and activism called Buffy Sainte-Marie: A Multimedia Life. It premiered on the Bravo TV channel in Canada and has also played at numerous film festivals.

• As of 2008 Sainte-Marie was still performing concerts across Canada. From her home in Hawaii, she also heads the Cradleboard Teaching Project, which creates educational materials for students learning about North American aboriginals.

• In October 2008 she released Running for the Drum, her first album in 15 years. That same month, the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards announced that Sainte-Marie would be bestowed with a lifetime achievement award at the 2008 awards ceremony on Nov. 28. She was also slated to perform at the event.

Medium: Television
Program: Adrienne Clarkson Presents
Broadcast Date: March 15, 1994
Guest(s): Buffy Sainte-Marie
Host: Adrienne Clarkson
Duration: 12:21

Last updated: June 23, 2014

Page consulted on September 10, 2014

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