Let’s You and Her Fight
Responding to the Attack on Buffy Sainte-Marie
As owners of DNA Consultants, and on behalf of our staff and customers, we wish to say something about the recent media coverage of legendary singer/songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie, who is 82 years old .
The two sole owners are of Cherokee, Choctaw and other ancestry. Many of our customers and well-wishers share American Indian ancestry, often confirmed by forensic DNA testing, with us, and are naturally concerned over the shocking charges leveled at Buffy, an icon in public awareness of American Indian history, culture and identity.
We congratulate the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for awarding an Emmy yesterday to the makers of “Buffy Sainte-Marie: Carry It On,” directed by Madison Thomas and narrated by Sainte-Marie. The one-and-a-half-hour documentary was produced by Eagle Vision, White Pine Pictures and Paquin Entertainment, premièred at the Toronto International Film Festival last year and is available to view for free at PBS online.
The film was made and released before a sneak attack on Sainte-Marie by the CBC/Radio Canada broadcast on Oct. 27, 2023, titled “Investigating Buffy Ste-Marie’s Claims to Indigenous Ancestry,” which provoked academicians like Kim Tall Bear and Jacqueline Keeler to denounce the singer as a “pretendian.” The take-down piece appeared after statements by Sainte-Marie which contradicted much of its material sight unseen, and which were not acknowledged in it. See Buffy Sainte-Marie Releases Statement About Indigenous Heritage Ahead of Investigative Report.
Evidently, the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences was aware of the so-called revelations and specious arguments against Sainte-Marie but awarded the Emmy to her and her director anyway. This event speaks loudly for the force of Sainte-Marie’s counterclaims and sincerity. The pointed affirmation shows that not everyone is ready to buy into the “pretendian” smear campaign.
Some may wonder why it is always outspoken, effective women—often minority women—who are targeted to be silenced and rendered powerless in our triumphalist late patriarchal society? Buffy was blacklisted by J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI in the early 1960s. Her work was officially banned on radio stations across the U.S. for two decades. Yet her star only continued to rise. As part of the programming on Sesame Street, her music and messages reached 42 countries day after day for many years.
“For my entire life,” she has said, “I have championed Indigenous, and Native American causes when nobody else would, or had the platform to do so. . . . I have always tried to bridge gaps between communities and educate people to live in love and kindness. This is my truth.”
The words to one of her lesser known songs go: “Every time I go to town the boys start kicking my dog around/ Makes no difference if’n he’s a hound, they better stop kicking my dog around.”
We think the media and academia better stop kicking Buffy Sainte-Marie around.
“Buffy Sainte-Marie Is What the World Needs Now,” by Madison Warner (post)
Andrea Warner, Buffy Sainte-Marie: The Authorized Biography, with Foreword by Joni Mitchell (notice)
Buffy Sainte-Marie – Official Site: News and Free Music Samples
“Buffy Sainte-Marie says CBC investigation into ancestry includes fabrications,” by Jessica Wang for Entertainment (Nov. 23, 2023)