Canada Post honors native icon Buffy Sainte-Marie with a stamp

OTTAVA – Iconic singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie is the newest pioneer honored by the Canada Post with a commemorative mark.

“It’s pretty amazing,” Sainte-Marie told Ottawa media on Thursday. “I can tell you I never thought that would happen, my God.”

Now 80 years old, the five-time Juno award-winning artist has been performing for over 60 years, and always puts indigenous things and talent in the spotlight.

“We have a lot of indigenous artists, we have studios, musicians, producers,” she said of the need for indigenous music to be in the mainstream. “Records are made, sold, listened to and we have the numbers.”

His own songs were covered by stars such as Elvis Presley, Barbara Streisand, Neil Diamond and Cher.

Born Beverly Sainte-Marie on February 20, 1941 on the Piapot Cree First Nation reserve in the Qu’Apelle Valley, Saskatchewan, she taught herself to play piano at the age of three and began making music for her poetry at the age of four.

She was raised by adoptive parents in Massachusetts and launched her career playing cafes and folk festivals in the 1960s. Known for her unique vibrating voice, Sainte-Marie uses her music as a platform for social and political commentary, especially on issues affecting indigenous youth.

In 1975, Sainte-Marie organized a profit concert at Piapot Cree Nation that drew more than 1,500 people. The money from the show went towards building a new school.

Her family continues to be proud of her accomplishments, with her niece Ntawnis Piapot telling CTV News that despite her international fame, Sainte-Marie is the type to spend time with them, “just her and you in the room.”

Sainte-Marie received the Order of Canada, an honorary doctorate and met the Queen during her lifetime, praises deserved by former Chief of the Assembly of First Nations Perry Bellegarde.

“Buffy Sainte-Marie is not elected, but she is a strong leader, a visionary and she has had such an impact, a global impact,” he said.

In 1982, she became the first Native person to win an Oscar for the song “Up Where We Belong”, from the movie “An Officer and a Gentleman”.

Sainte-Marie marks the 11th native person to have been honored with a Canada Post stamp


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