Buffy Sainte-Marie: 1st Indigenous to win an Oscar remains a dynamic and creative force at 80
Sainte-Marie has never mince words. His 1964 debut album was called “It’s My Way”.
She was named Billboard’s Best New Artist. Some of his songs deal with the mistreatment of Native Americans; she also wrote the powerful Vietnamese protest song “Universal Soldier”.
“You know, a lot of people think my career has been either blacklisting because of ‘Universal Soldier’ or speaking too loudly on behalf of indigenous peoples,” Sainte-Marie said. “I think I was seen as a cowardly cannon, saying too much, especially because there was so much stolen Indian land back then – so much! There was so much corruption going on. somehow understood. But here I am! “
Sainte-Marie was born on a Canadian reservation, adopted by an American couple and raised on the East Coast.
“They told me I couldn’t be an Indian because there weren’t any more there. It was in Maine and Massachusetts where I grew up. So I was told that I couldn’t be a musician and I couldn’t be an Indian and that just makes me laugh, “Sainte-Marie said.
While many of Buffy’s songs speak to adults, she loved to speak to children.
She appeared for years on “Sesame Street” and became an author of children’s books. A work calls into question its Cree heritage with a message to children about being themselves. Another of this longtime animal lover is a lullaby for pet adoption.
In 1983, Buffy became the first Indigenous person to win an Oscar. It was for co-writing “Up Where We Belong”, the best original song from “An Officer and a Gentleman”.
“I still can’t believe it. I think I just got lucky,” said Sainte-Marie.
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