CBC Digital Archives

Buffy Sainte-Marie: native North American child

On Saturday afternoons for 21 years, dedicated listeners would "get their bannock and tea," and tune into CBC Radio for news from Our Native Land. The first - and so far only - national radio program focused on native issues and cultures, it chronicled the rejuvenation of native literature, art, culture and political activism beginning in 1965. Hosts included Johnny Yesno, Bernelda Wheeler, Albert Angus and Brian Maracle, who were part of the all-aboriginal production team.

media clip
In part one of a two-part interview, singer-songwriter Buffy Saint-Marie talks about her childhood, college and early years as a performer. Born on a Cree reservation in Saskatchewan, Saint-Marie says she maintained her Indian identity despite being raised by white parents "in a real Javex community." She talks about early shows on Canadian Indian reservations, and moving from folk to the "wonders" of electronic music. 
• Buffy Sainte-Marie jumped on the electronic music train early and never got off. "I was not the barefoot folk singer in a granny dress -- I was doing electronic music in the '60s," she told a Canadian Press reporter in 2008, citing her 1969 electronic album Illuminations. She's been composing music and painting on computers since the 1980s. Sainte-Marie turned down filmmakers who wanted to document her life as a folk and protest singer. But she embraced a new project by a Toronto studio to make a 2006 documentary titled Buffy Sainte-Marie: A Multimedia Life.

• Sainte-Marie, who won a 2008 lifetime achievement award at the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards, spends most of her time in her mountain home on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. Her son, Dakota Starblanket Wolfchild, a keyboard player in a reggae band, lives next door.

Medium: Radio
Program: Our Native Land
Broadcast Date: Aug. 18, 1984
Guest(s): Buffy Sainte-Marie
Host: Brian Maracle
Duration: 12:45
This clip has been edited for copyright reasons.

Last updated: June 5, 2012

Page consulted on May 28, 2014

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