Buffy Sainte-Marie calls for adults only exhibit on residential schools at Canadian Museum for Human Rights

Buffy Sainte-Marie said she wants to see an exhibit featuring the realities of residential schools for an adult-only audience.

Cree musician wants to see exhibit on realities too graphic for children

Buffy Sainte-Marie is speaking at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights on Wednesday. (Photo by Matt Barnes)

Buffy Sainte-Marie has a message for the Canadian Museum for Human Rights ahead of her talk on Wednesday.

"My recommendation to the museum is that we have some special, adults-only rooms so we can show and tell some of the things that were going on and happening to Indigenous people," the award-winning Cree musician and activist said Tuesday.

Sainte-Marie wants to see the museum include more details about brutal conditions Indigenous children faced in residential schools.

"We hear about how they cut their hair or they didn't let them speak their languages...what about the electric chairs? What about the cattle prod? What about the electric wires affixed to children's bodies trying to torture them into being Christian or not talking back or having their own ideas," she said.

Sainte-Marie's talk on Wednesday will be her second time inside the Winnipeg museum.

She was part of the opening ceremony of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in 2014. At the time, some of the exhibits were not complete and Sainte-Marie said she's looking forward to seeing what the museum has built since then.

"I want to see what they've done since that time cause I had some objections," she said. 

"The Human Rights Museum is very important if they have the courage to address the issues."

Sainte-Marie said her talk on Wednesday will focus on her work in Indigenous education. Since 1969, through the Nihewan Foundation for Native American Education she operates, she has worked to improve education of and about Indigenous people and cultures.

Sainte-Marie will speak at 7 p.m. on Wednesday at the Manitoba Teachers' Society Classrooms.

The talk will be live-streamed on the museum's website. Her life story and ongoing activism is also featured in the museum's exhibition of human rights defenders.