It’s Canadian Cree Nation activist/artist Buffy Sainte-Marie’s birthday today! The video is a short film about her life, art, and activism.
From Wikipedia, about her early career:
Sainte-Marie played piano and guitar, self-taught, in her childhood and teen years. In college some of her songs, “Ananias”, the Indian lament, “Now That the Buffalo’s Gone” and “Mayoo Sto Hoon” (in Hindi) were already in her repertoire.
By 1962, in her early twenties, Sainte-Marie was touring alone, developing her craft and performing in various concert halls, folk music festivals and Native Americans reservations across the United States, Canada and abroad. She spent a considerable amount of time in the coffeehouses of downtown Toronto’s old Yorkville district, and New York City’s Greenwich Villageas part of the early to mid-1960s folk scene, often alongside other emerging Canadian contemporaries, such as Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell (including introducing her to manager Eliot Roberts), and Neil Young.
She quickly earned a reputation as a gifted songwriter, and many of her earliest songs were covered, and often turned into chart-topping hits, by other artists including Chet Atkins, Janis Joplin and Taj Mahal. One of her most popular songs, “Until It’s Time for You to Go”, has been recorded by artists as diverse as Elvis Presley, Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond, Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops Orchestra, Roberta Flack, Françoise Hardy, Cher, Maureen McGovern, and Bobby Darin, while “Piney Wood Hills” was made into a country music hit byBobby Bare. Her vocal style features a frequently recurring, insistent, unusually sustained vibrato, one more prominent than can be found in the music of any other well-known popular music performer.
In 1963, recovering from a throat infection Sainte-Marie became addicted to codeine and recovering from the experience became the basis of her song “Cod’ine”, later covered byDonovan, The Charlatans, Quicksilver Messenger Service, the Litter, The Leaves, Jimmy Gilmer, Gram Parsons as a part of his Another Side of This Life: The Lost Recordings of Gram Parsons 1965-1966, the songwriter Charles Brutus McClay and even - slightly retitled “Codeine” - by the UK based Anglo-Canadian neo garage rock band The Barracudas on the band’s 1981 debut LP  ”Drop Out with The Barracudas”, and more recently by Courtney Love. Also in 1963 Sainte-Marie witnessed wounded soldiers returning from Vietnam at a time when the U.S. government was denying involvement - this inspired her protest song “Universal Soldier” which was released on her debut album, It’s My Way on Vanguard Records in 1964, and later became a hit for Donovan. She was subsequently named Billboard Magazine's Best New Artist. Some of her songs such as “My Country ‘Tis of Thy People You’re Dying" (1964, included on her 1966 album) addressing the plight of the Native American people created a lot of controversy at the time.
In 1967, Sainte-Marie released the album Fire and Fleet and Candlelight, which contained her interpretation of the traditional Yorkshire dialect song “Lyke Wake Dirge”. Sainte-Marie’s other well-known songs include “Mister Can’t You See,” (a Top 40 U.S. hit in 1972); “He’s an Indian Cowboy in the Rodeo”; and the theme song of the popular movie Soldier Blue. Perhaps her first appearance on TV was as herself on To Tell the Truth in January 1966. She also appeared on Pete Seeger's Rainbow Quest with Pete Seeger in 1965 and several Canadian Television productions from the 1960s through to the 1990s, and other TV shows such as American Bandstand, Soul Train, The Johnny Cash Show and The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson; and sang the opening song “The Circle Game” (written by Joni Mitchell) in Stuart Hagmann’s film The Strawberry Statement (1970).
In the late sixties, Sainte-Marie used a Buchla synthesizer to record the album Illuminations, which did not receive much notice. “People were more in love with the Pocahontas-with-a-guitar image,” she commented in a 1998 interview.
In late 1975, Sainte Marie got a phone call from Dulcy Singer, then Associate Producer of Sesame Street, to appear on the show. According to Sainte-Marie, Singer wanted her to count and recite the alphabet like everyone else, but instead, she wanted to teach the show’s young viewers that “Indians still exist”. Sainte-Marie had been invited earlier that year to appear on another children’s TV show which she would not name, but turned the invitation down since the program ran commercials for G.I. Joe war toys.
Sainte-Marie regularly appeared on Sesame Street over a five year period from 1976–1981, along with her first son, Dakota Starblanket Wolfchild whom she breast fed in one episode.Sesame Street even aired a week of shows from her home in Hawaii in December 1977; where Sainte-Marie and her family were joined by Bob (Bob McGrath), Maria (Sonia Manzano), Mr. Hooper (Will Lee), Olivia (Alaina Reed Hall, who was Sainte-Marie’s closest friend from the Sesame Street cast), Big Bird and Oscar (both portrayed by Carroll Spinney).
In 1979 the film Spirit of the Wind, featuring Sainte-Marie’s original musical score including the song “Spirit of the Wind”, was one of three entries that year at Cannes, along with The China Syndrome and Norma Rae. The film is a docudrama of George Attla, the ‘winningest dog musher of all time,’ as the film presents him, with all parts played by Native Americans except one by Slim Pickens. The film was shown on cable TV in the early 1980s and was released in France in 2003. Sainte-Marie’s musical score has been described as ‘inspiring’, ‘haunting’, and ‘perfection’.
Sainte-Marie began using Apple Inc. Apple II and Macintosh computers as early as 1981 to record her music and later some of her visual art. The song “Up Where We Belong" (which Sainte-Marie co-wrote with Will Jennings and musician Jack Nitzsche) was performed by Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes for the film An Officer and a Gentleman. It received theAcademy Award for Best Song in 1982. The song was later covered by Cliff Richard and Anne Murray on Cliff’s album of duets, Two’s Company.
In the early 1980s one of her native songs was used as the theme song for the CBC's native series Spirit Bay. She was cast for the TNT 1993 telefilm The Broken Chain. It was shot entirely in Virginia. In 1989 she wrote and performed the music for Where the Spirit Lives, a film about native children being abducted and forced into residential schools.