Saturday, July 2, 2016


Buffy Sainte-Marie and Big Bird

 "I'm a low-maintenance girl; I know how to take care of myself." 

Buffy Sainte-Marie at 75, February 20, 2016
Click here to watch an interview on CBS about Buffy Sainte-Marie's biography, "It's My Way"
(I loved hearing the lilting endings in some of her speech and the flow of 'pidgin' as a result of more than forty years of living on the island of Kauai, Hawaii, a global woman. )
In this interview Sainte-Marie champions the value of the internet, and says, "The internet is a lot like the streets were in the '60's." She advocates for the blog and the blogger who can self-publish and is freed from ownership from corporations ..." 
Up early this morning, before the sun lit the forest and the birds began their opening arias, I went looking for music for breakfast and found an unexpected inspiration. Buffy Sainte-Marie. On Feb. 20, the one and only Buffy Sainte-Marie turned 75 years young. Among the many treats available thanks to the internet, I found this article from Digital Drum, "75 Facts About Buffy Sainte-Marie". 
" With a catalog containing hundreds of songs and spanning more than four decades, she is living proof that longevity and relevance can coexist. But even more impressive than her staying power in an industry driven by “flavours of the week” and “next big things” is her ability to connect. Whether it’s through her music, her art or her philanthropy, Sainte-Marie continues to shed light on the important issues and speak to – and for – entire generations.In three quarters of a century she has established herself as more than just an artist, an activist, an educator, a pioneer, or a celebrity. She is the epitome of a true Canadian icon.To celebrate her incredible 75 years on Earth, here are 75 facts about Buffy. (I've clipped a cupful of those facts that pin together a picture of her to inspire me. The photos and video clips fill things out.)

1. Buffy was born Feb. 20, 1941, on the Piapot Cree First Nations Reserve near Regina, Saskatchewan.
 2. Her birth name was Beverly.  
 3. Orphaned at a young age, she was adopted and raised in Massachusetts.
4. She taught herself to play piano at age three.
 16. While in her 20s, she bought acreage in Kauai, Hawaii. She has lived there ever since.  
 17. She shares her sprawling estate with goats, horses, chickens and a cat. 
18. Also in her 20s, when she had more money than she knew what to do with, she turned to philanthropy. Says Buffy, “When I was maybe 24, I was a young singer with too much money, I knew I’d be able to have two meals a day for the rest of my life, so I took my leftover singing money and I started a scholarship called the Nihewan Foundation for American Indian Education. I really set out to address the problem I saw in Indian country where Indian kids would graduate from high school, want to go to college, but didn’t know how to negotiate the path to college. They didn’t know how to get a scholarship, they weren’t connected by family and friends. I have an Academy Award, but that’s not my biggest honour. My biggest honour was to find out that two of my early scholarship recipients had gone on to found tribal colleges. Can you imagine that kind of thrill?”  
 43. Given the messages of some of her songs, Sainte-Marie’s music was blacklisted by American radio stations in the United States, a move approved by President Lyndon B. Johnson.
... 65. She dabbles in astronomy. She says, “On Hawaii, we have this local navy base and I have security clearance to go and use their telescopes. I’m an amateur astronomer, and when you look at the stars … or even when you spend time with your kitty cat in your lap … to me, it’s the most beautiful, natural phenomenon … the earth. It’s what connects us all together with everything and each other.”
The 75 facts about Buffy Sainte-Marie is a long list in a life that inspires a genuine sense of sovereignty, independence and connectivity. It's something that fills me more than I can say. The quote from the Honolulu article ends with a real punch line to nod at. "A low-maintenance girl, who knows how to take care of [herself]." That's something!

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