She’s been commemorated on a Canadian postage stamp, won an Oscar, performed for the Queen, and often appeared on Sesame Street.
She’s also a fraud.
The famous Canadian singer and Indigenous icon Buffy Sainte-Marie is actually a plain old white woman from Massachuttes.
Who broke the news?
The Washington Post:
Known for co-writing the Oscar-winning “Up Where We Belong,” writing the much-covered 1960s protest standard “Universal Soldier” and the years she appeared on “Sesame Street” — wearing traditional dress, she taught the Count to count in Cree, and in 1977 breastfed her baby on camera — Sainte-Marie has long been one of Canada’s most prominent Indigenous icons.
She’s been commemorated on Canadian postage stamps and performed for Queen Elizabeth II. “A one-name phenomenon, akin to Madonna, Cher, Elvis,” as a Globe and Mail column put it…
Asked about her early years in a 2018 NPR interview, Sainte-Marie spoke of the Sixties Scoop, a program through which the government took Indigenous children from their families and put them up for adoption by non-Indigenous parents to assimilate them into Canada’s dominant non-Indigenous society. The program began a decade after her 1941 birth.
A recent investigation by CBC also found other issues with her background story. The regular guest on Sesame Street in the 1970s would often appear on the show as a member of the Cree tribe.
In a 1986 interview with the Los Angeles Times Magazine, she said: “I was born on the Piapot Cree reservation near Craven, Sask.”
Then, her story goes, she was adopted by a Massachusetts couple, Albert and Winifred Santamaria, who raised her near Boston…
“She wasn’t born in Canada.… She’s clearly born in the United States,” said Heidi St. Marie, daughter of Sainte-Marie’s older brother, Alan. “She’s clearly not Indigenous or Native American.”
That claim is supported by documents obtained by CBC, including Sainte-Marie’s Stoneham, Mass., birth certificate. The investigation also shows that her account of her ancestry has been a shifting narrative, full of inconsistencies and inaccuracies.
The investigation done by the CBC provided images of her birth certificate. The singer was not adopted and was born in the United States.
The CBC report also detailed an incident when Buffy’s older brother Alan spoke to a PBS producer in 1975 to try to correct the matter. It was a chance encounter when Alan was an airline pilot. A few weeks later, the producer called Alan and inquired if he really was “Buffy’s brother.”
Alan told the producer that he and Sainte-Marie were white and shared the same parents. Then, the following November in 1975, he received a letter from a Los Angeles law firm.
“This firm represents Buffy Sainte-Marie,” said the letter from a lawyer who had represented the likes of the Rolling Stones and the Beach Boys.
“We have been advised that you have, without provocation, disparaged and perhaps defamed Buffy and maliciously interfered with her employment opportunities,” the letter said. It said if he continued, Buffy would “spare no expense in pursuing any and all of her legal remedies.”
Inside the law firm’s letter was a handwritten note from Buffy threatening Alan.
It just so happens that Alan’s family kept the letters and provided them to the CBC, who reported that the handwriting matched Buffy Saint-Marie. The investigation also discovered a 1982 marriage certificate in which Sainte-Marie reported she was born in Massachusetts and identified her actual parents as her parents.
Members of the indigenous community are asking that Sainte-Marie take a DNA test to give their members “some closure.”
Additionally, Crystal Fafard, a lawyer from the Yellow Quill First Nation and a founding member of the Indigenous Women’s Collective in Canada, is asking for Buffy’s award as Canadian Juno Award for Indigenous Album of the Year to be rescinded.
“Colonialism itself is a taking – it is about taking resources, land, culture and language and children,” she said. “Now, it’s taking identity.”
So my question is, are Senator Elizabeth Warren Sainte-Marie friends? Is there something in the water in Mass?