Sainte-Marie, Buffy

Buffy Sainte-Marie, folk singer, songwriter (b at Piapot Reserve, Sask 20 Feb 1941). Orphaned by Cree parents, she was raised in the US by a part-Micmac family, and in the early 1960s she became an important figure in New York folk music. Since her emergence internationally as a bold social commentator and idiosyncratic singer, she has often returned to Canada from her home in Hawaii for festivals, concerts and broadcasts.

Her most popular songs include "Until It's Time for You to Go,""He's an Indian Cowboy in the Rodeo,""Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee,""Cripple Creek" and the protest song "The Universal Soldier," the latter an anthem of the 1960s peace movement. Her work has been recorded by Elvis Presley, Barbra Stresiand, Donovan, Roberta Flack, Neil Diamond and Janis Joplin, among others. She won an Academy Award in 1983 for cowriting "Up Where We Belong" (the theme for An Officer and a Gentleman).

Many of Sainte-Marie's songs concern native peoples' experience in North America. In October 1987 she performed at a benefit concert in Calgary to help support the land claims of the Lubicon band of Alberta. She also been active in supporting native education and native art. One of the first mainstream entertainers to embrace the computer as an artistic medium, she recorded Coincidence and Likely Stories (1991) at home with her Macintosh as a recording instrument and exhibits her "digital paintings" in galleries. Up Where We Belong (1996) features rerecordings of her best-known songs.