Buffy Ste. Marie, (Cree), 1941-
She is a singer-songwriter, musician, artist, and teacher. Born on the Piapot Reserve, near Regina, Saskatchewan but was orphaned when only a few months old. She was adopted by a part-Mi'kmaq family and raised in Wakefield, Massachusetts. She was later adopted according to tribal customs on the Piapot Reserve by a Cree family related to her natural parents. At 17 she took up the guitar, and by her early twenties she had become an important figure in Greenwich Village (New York) folk music circles. She is known for her commitment to social causes, especially those of the Native peoples of North America. Her earliest Canadian performances included an appearance at the 1964 Mariposa Folk Festival. She also sang at Expo 67 and in 1977 before Queen Elizabeth II at the Silver Jubilee celebrations in Ottawa. Sainte-Marie appeared on several CBC radio and TV shows and she was seen 1975-81 in Canada as a regular performer on children's show, Sesame Street. Her 1996 variety special Up Where We Belong won her a Gemini Award. Sainte-Marie's ballad 'Until It's Time for You to Go' (1972) has been recorded by Elvis Presley, Cher, Neil Diamond, Robert Goulet Ginette Reno, Barbra Streisand, and many others. 'The Universal Soldier', a hit as recorded by Donovan, was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2005. In the 1990s, Sainte-Marie was heard in concert often in Canada, touring First Nations reserves and towns in Western Canada and Ontario. She sang with the Regina Symphony Orchestra under John Kim Bell, and with the National Arts Centre Orchestra. She has performed in Sweden, Denmark, and France. Sainte-Marie taught music and art at the Saskatchewan Federated Indian College; York University; Evergreen State College, Washington; and the Institute for American Indian Arts, New Mexico. She founded the Nihewan Foundation for Native American Education in 1969; her Cradleboard Teaching Project connects classes of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children on-line. She was a spokesperson for UNESCO, and in 1997 was named the Native American Philanthropist of the Year. She became an Officer in the Order of Canada in 1997, and was awarded the Queen's Jubilee Medal in 2002. She received lifetime achievement awards from the Saskatchewan Recording Industry Association (1994), CARAS (Juno, 1995), the American Indian College Fund (1998), and the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation (1999). As a painter, she has exhibited her work in Vancouver, Calgary, Regina, Toronto, and Santa Fe.

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