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Tuesday, November 7, 2023 – Buffy Sainte-Marie: the weight of the truth

After a stellar, groundbreaking career as a musician and advocate for Indigenous people and causes, Buffy Sainte-Marie’s stated connections to any tribe in Canada or the U.S. appear to be completely made up. The revelations in an investigation by the CBC’s The Fifth Estate are a heartbreaking disappointment to her fans who saw her as a trailblazer in an industry with so little positive Native representation. At least one Indigenous group is calling for a recent Juno Award for best album to be rescinded. Others like the Piapot First Nation, the Cree tribe Sainte-Marie identified with for more than a half century, stand behind her. Does she deserve complete outrage? Or can we, as Cree author Michelle Good asks, “remember the power that was there regardless of her deception?”


Dr. Kim TallBear (Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate), Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Peoples, Technoscience, and Environment and a professor of Native Studies at the University of Alberta

Michelle Good (Red Pheasant Cree Nation), author, retired lawyer, and activist