Rosanna Deerchild: An iconic Buffy Sainte-Marie still inspires

Buffy Saint-Marie is touring in support of her new release, Power in the Blood. Photo from Facebook

Native journalist Rosanna Deerchild pays tribute to the legendary Buffy Sainte-Marie:
The first time I saw Buffy was on the children's television show Sesame Street in 1977. She was unmistakable; long dark hair, sharp Cree features and bead work earrings. But she was also smart and funny and could play a mean mouth bow.

I was a wee Deerchild and had never seen a TV Indian that wasn't getting shot off a horse or being called unsavoury names and run out of town before. So to this Cree kid, Buffy, was a very big deal.

I already loved this kid's puppet show and now I desperately wanted someone to tell me how to get to Sesame Street just so I could meet her.

Buffy looked out from the screen and said to me, "you can do and be anything you want." She's been a hero of mine ever since. She has kept me company, comforted me and shaped my education and passion as an indigenous woman.

I listened loud to her music through college and into adulthood and was inspired by her fierceness and activism. From her unique voice — that is part trill and part songbird — to her instruments of mouth bow and drum, to her lyrics of protest, perseverance and hybrid-music mixes, she always brings her all.

Indeed, since hitting the folk music scene in the 1960s, Buffy Sainte-Marie has been a hero for many. She is a musical innovator — producing her own music and adopting electronic instruments before anyone else.

Get the Story:
Rosanna Deerchild: The loud and proud song and wisdom of Buffy Sainte-Marie (CBC 5/16)

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