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Buffy Sainte-Marie, artist and educator

The Story

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 Indigenous people with the Cradleboard Teaching Project. In this 1994 clip, Sainte-Marie demonstrates her creative process for CBC-TV host Adrienne Clarkson.

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

Did You know?

• 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 Indigenous Peoples.

• 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.


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