2010 Lifetime Artistic Achievement (Popular Music)
Buffy Sainte-Marie has achieved international acclaim as a singer/songwriter, visual artist, advocate for Aboriginal rights, and mentor. Her powerful songs of love, hope, protest and triumph have sensitized people around the world to important political and social issues. She continues to tour extensively, capturing audiences everywhere with the energy, intensity, and raw communicative power of her performances.
Ms. Sainte-Marie was born in 1942 on the Piapot Reserve, Saskatchewan. Self-taught on piano since the age of 3, she took up the guitar at 16, and by age 22 she was performing worldwide.
Her songs range from the tender "Until It's Time for You to Go" (recorded by, among others, Elvis Presley, Cher, Neil Diamond, Cleo Laine, Ginette Reno, and Barbra Streisand) to iconic protests such as "Universal Soldier" (which became the anthem of the peace movement) and inspired, informative pleas for Aboriginal rights ("Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee," "Native North American Child,"
"My Country 'Tis of Thy People You're Dying").
For her first album, It's My Way (1964), she was voted Billboard's Best New Artist, and in 1981 she won a Golden Globe and an Academy Award (Oscar) for the song "Up Where We Belong" (written for the film An Officer and a Gentleman). Her latest release, Running for the Drum (2009, packaged with a bio-documentary DVD,
Buffy Sainte-Marie: A Multimedia Life), won a JUNO and four Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards.
A pioneer in the field of digital art, she has exhibited her digital paintings in major museums across North America.
In 1996 she founded the Cradleboard Teaching Project, providing accurate, enriching Aboriginal curriculum online to Native and non-Native students throughout the world. She was a cast member (1971-75) of the educational children's TV show Sesame Street.
Awards and honours include Officer of the Order of Canada (1997); inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame (2009), Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame (2005), Canada's Walk of Fame (1999), JUNO Hall of Fame (1995); Lifetime Achievement Award, Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards (2009) and Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards (2008); official spokesperson, UN International Year of Indigenous Peoples (1993); honorary degrees from six Canadian universities.