Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Beautiful Buffy Sainte-Marie

Buffy Sainte-Marie (1967)
I first heard Buffy Sainte-Marie in the 1960's.  She had a big hit called "Universal Soldier" on her first album, It's My Way,  produced in 1964. Donovan recorded it and it became a  popular hit in 1965 in both England and the USA.. 

Universal Soldier

He's five feet two and he's six feet four
He fights with missiles and with spears
He's all of 31 and he's only 17
He's been a soldier for a thousand years

He's a Catholic, a Hindu, an atheist, a Jain,
a Buddhist and a Baptist and a Jew
and he knows he shouldn't kill
and he knows he always will
kill you for me my friend and me for you

And he's fighting for Canada,
he's fighting for France,
he's fighting for the USA,
and he's fighting for the Russians
and he's fighting for Japan,
and he thinks we'll put an end to war this way

And he's fighting for Democracy
and fighting for the Reds
He says it's for the peace of all
He's the one who must decide
who's to live and who's to die
and he never sees the writing on the walls

But without him how would Hitler have
condemned him at Dachau
Without him Caesar would have stood alone
He's the one who gives his body
as a weapon to a war
and without him all this killing can't go on

He's the universal soldier and he
really is to blame
His orders come from far away no more
They come from him, and you, and me
and brothers can't you see
this is not the way we put an end to war.

I got to meet Buffy Sainte-Marie and see her perform at a fundraiser for the American Indian Movement (AIM) in San Diego in 1973. The event was a wonderful gathering of progressive people like The Black Federation, the Migrant Ministry, the UFW, etc. to help raise defense funds for the AIM defendants arrested at the Siege of Wounded Knee.

Dennis Banks (Co-founder of the American Indian Movement)  (1973)  

Vernon Sukumu (Executive Director of the Black Federation) and Dennis Banks 
In 1973, I was working for the United Farm Workers Union
and taking  lots of pictures with my Pentax camera.
She was a great young performer who was politically black-listed by Presidents Johnson and Nixon because of her activism for the Native American Movement in the 1970's. Her music wasn't played on radio stations in the USA for the next two decades. She got a gig on Sesame Street from 1975-1981 where she appeared with her first son, Dakota Starblanket Wolfchild. 

In her native land of Canada, she achieved great popularity as an educator, musician and song writer and artist.   Her impact on the modern Native American/First Nations music and cultural scene has been profound. Her influence has produced many new musicians among Native Americans. Her original songs have been recorded by other musicians and have become hits throughout the world for other artists..

In 1982, she received an Academy Award for Best Original Song, Up Where We Belong, the theme song for An Officer and a Gentleman.  

Buffy show-cased her talents when, at 68 years old, she performed before the world at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia. Here she performs live her Cho Cho Fire:

At 72, Buffy still rocks and is still relevant. She's still fighting for the people and the land we live in.  I love her strong and vibrant No No Keshagesh from her 2009 CD Running for the Drum:


  1. Absolutely beautiful tribute, Vicki. Thanks!

  2. As a Canadian I am very proud to claim her as our own although she is much bigger than just one country and one people. Great post and thanks for linking to my Happy post.