“A graduating college senior in 1962, Buffy Sainte-Marie hit the ground running as a soloist, touring North America’s colleges, reservations and concert halls, meeting both significant acclaim and misunderstanding from audiences and record companies who expected Pocahontas in fringes,” states the university press release. “Instead, they were both entertained and educated with their initial dose of Native American reality in the first person.”
Her body of work shows how much she deserves the honor, especially her most recent album, Running for the Drum, which has garnered a number of accolades including a Juno Award for aboriginal album and an Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Award for best folk album. She was born on a Cree reservation in Qu’Appelle Valley, Saskatchewan and by the time she was 24, had toured all over Europe, Canada, Australia and Asia. Notable artists Elvis Presley, Bobby Darin, Barbara Streisand and Cher recorded her song Until It’s Time for You to Go and her song Universal Soldier became the anthem of the peace movement, which is fitting as Sainte-Marie has been an activist for 40 years.
“It was startling in the 60s to hear anyone speak out publicly concerning corporate land grabs of Indian land; the fact that the speaker was a woman was even more startling,” reads the biography on her website. There will be four convocation ceremonies at Brandon University on June 3 and 4 at the Western Manitoba Centennial Auditorium.