Born on the Piapot Reserve in Saskatchewan's Qu'Appelle Valley, Buffy Sainte-Marie was a writer of protest and love songs that became classics in the 1960s, and were recorded by such artists as Barbara Streisand, Elvis Presley, Neil Diamond, and Janis Joplin.
Buffy was adopted and raised in Maine and Massachusetts. By the age of 24, Sainte-Marie had toured all over Europe, Canada, Australia and Asia. Billboard magazine named her "Best New Artist" for her debut album. During the Lyndon Johnson administration, Buffy was blacklisted along with Eartha Kitt and Taj Mahal, due to her honest, outspoken protestations.
An extremely well educated talent, Buffy holds a PhD in fine arts and degrees in oriental philosophy and teaching. She has recorded 17 albums and has had three television specials. Sainte-Marie is also a renowned pioneer in the field of digital music and art. Among her projects is the CD-ROM âScience Through Native American Eyes," an engaging interactive production that she filmed, directed and produced.Buffy has travelled worldwide working hard to preserve the intellectual property of all indigenous peoples. She currently heads the Nihewan Foundation for Native American education and has also created a scholarship fund for Native American study.
Buffy Sainte-Marie's accomplishments are extraordinary. She has received a medal from Queen Elizabeth II and an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from the University of Regina. She has won numerous awards, including a JUNO, a Gemini and an Academy Award for the song "Up Where We Belong," the theme song from the movie, "An Officer and a Gentleman." She had a five-year stint on Sesame Street with her son, Dakota Wolfchild Starblanket, where they taught youngsters that "Indians still exist."
In 1976, Sainte-Marie quit recording to raise her son and to continue as a student of experimental music. In 1993 she returned to music and recorded "Coincidence and Likely Stories." That same year, she helped establish a new JUNO Awards category for aboriginal music. 1993 continued to be a banner year for her as she headlined a concert of indigenous artists in Lapland. The program was televised in Germany, Sweden, Norway and Finland. France named her best international artist for 1993, and the United Nations asked her to proclaim the International Year of Indigenous People.
Her most recent album was a performance, "Live at Carnegie Hall." Now a resident of Hawaii, Sainte-Marie was inducted into the JUNO Hall of Fame in 1995, and named an officer in the Order of Canada in 1997.
A clear cut avid lover of knowledge, over the last few years, Buffy Sainte-Marie has received several honourary degrees. In 2007 Sainte-Marie received an honorary Doctor of Letters from Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in Vancouver, B.C. On 13 June 2008, she received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Carleton University, in Ottawa, an honorary Doctor of Music from The University of Western Ontario on June 10, 2009, in London, Ontario, as well as an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts from the Ontario College of Art & Design on June 4, 2010, in Toronto, Ontario.