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5 Canadian acts inspired by Buffy Sainte-Marie
By
Tahiat Mahboob

Published

March 30, 2017

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Buffy Sainte-Marie will be honoured with the Allan Waters Humanitarian Award at the 2017 Juno Awards. Presented annually, the award recognizes Canadian musicians whose ample efforts have left a positive social impact.

From protecting Indigenous intellectual property to fighting for Indigenous artists and performers, Sainte-Marie embodies the spirit of the award perfectly. With that in mind, we look at five artists from Canada who were inspired by Sainte-Marie’s music.


A Tribe Called Red

“We would not be doing what we’re doing today without Buffy. For my generation, a lot of people go right to Sesame Street. She wasn’t on Sesame Street as an Indian. She was just Buffy on Sesame Street.” — A Tribe Called Red in conversation with NOW Toronto


Tanya Tagaq

“I have a framed picture of Buffy Sainte-Marie hanging right beside the entrance of my house so that I can see her every day when I walk out and every day when I come in. That woman has influenced my life in such a huge, huge way. She was one of the people where I said yes, I’m proud to be this. Also, her prowess onstage, who she is, her sobriety, her health, her positivity. Everything about her and mostly her strength. That woman is like 100 metal bands, she’s just incredible.” — Tanya Tagaq in conversation with CBC Music


Amanda Rheaume

"I remember hearing 'Universal Soldier' for many years, but the most poignant time was when I heard Buffy sing it live at Summerfolk in Owen Sound a few years back. She released the song in 1964, a direct response to the Vietnam War, I imagine. I remember reading that this song, for Buffy, was about individual responsibility for war. When I heard her sing this song live it was much more affecting due to my work travelling to sing for the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan between 2009 and 2011." — Amanda Rheaume on CBC Radio's Unreserved

 

Digging Roots

"Of course Buffy is a living legend and it's songs like this ['Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee'] that make it so. She is such an important voice from our community. She is an inspiration of so many levels, her activism, her work for young people and of course her songwriting.” — ShoShona Kish of Digging Roots on CBC Radio's Unreserved

 

Kimberley Dawn

"She asked me to send her my music, and I never did. I think it was [that] I didn't want her to judge me and say that I sucked. She would never do that but can you imagine having your hero listen to you? I think it was almost too much for me." — Kimberley Dawn on CBC Radio's Unreserved

 

Follow Tahiat Mahboob on Twitter: @TahiatMahboob

More to explore:

Buffy Sainte-Marie: 75 things you need to know about the Canadian icon

From Elvis to Barbra Streisand, a brief history of one of Buffy Sainte-Marie's most covered songs

Is Buffy Sainte-Marie's Power in the Blood the defining record of our time?

A Tribe Called Red, Tanya Tagaq, Iskwe, more: a vibrant new era of protest music