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Buffy Sainte-Marie is one of the most prolific singer-songwriters of the past century. For 60 years her music has quietly reverberated throughout pop culture, and provided a touchstone for Indigenous resistance. In this five-part series, Mohawk and Tuscarora writer Falen Johnson explores how Buffy’s life and legacy is essential to understanding Indigenous resilience.

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Buffy Sainte-Marie is one of the most prolific singer-songwriters of the past century. For 60 years her music has quietly reverberated throughout pop culture, and provided a touchstone for Indigenous resistance. In this five-part series, Mohawk and Tuscarora writer Falen Johnson explores how Buffy's life and legacy is essential to understanding Indigenous resilience.

Episodes: 

Episode 1: Javex, U.S.A.

On a cold February day in the Canadian prairies, a Cree baby named Beverly Sainte-Marie is born. But she’s sent far away to live with an adoptive family in a small American town she later dubs Javex, USA, because it was so white. She finds refuge in music and discovers a one-way ticket to freedom: her guitar. Beverly becomes Buffy. For transcripts of this series, please visit: https://www.cbc.ca/radio/podcastnews/buffy-transcripts-listen-1.6796442

Access the transcript for this episode here.

Episode 2: Universial Soldeir

Buffy is traveling from gig to gig in the 60s, armed with her guitar and little else. She makes a splash on the coffeehouse folk scene, rubbing shoulders with artists like Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan. Tectonic changes are around the corner, and her rising success comes with some hard lessons about who to trust — and what it means to be a Indigenous woman in the music business. For transcripts of this series, please visit: https://www.cbc.ca/radio/podcastnews/buffy-transcripts-listen-1.6796442

Access the transcript for this episode here.

Episode 3: Qu'Appelle Valley, Saskatchewan

A chance encounter at a powwow leads Buffy to the place she might have been born. It’s a personal journey entwined in a political one, and she sees what her budding fame could mean for Indigenous rights. She heads to the original #LandBack movement, the Occupation of Alcatraz, and starts taking every opportunity to speak out about Indigenous rights. Buffy’s voice, loud and clear, becomes the soundtrack for the movement. For transcripts of this series, please visit: https://www.cbc.ca/radio/podcastnews/buffy-transcripts-listen-1.6796442 Program Note [Dec, 05 2023] Since the podcast’s release in 2022, there have been significant updates. Listen to the series postscript here: https://www.cbc.ca/listen/cbc-podcasts/1064-buffy/episode/16027869-e6-postscript

Access the transcript for this episode here.

Episode 4: The Spotlight

Now in her mid-30s, Buffy makes her historical Sesame Street debut in 1975, singing to Muppets about Indigenous languages, cultures, and so much more. She becomes the first woman to breastfeed on TV and the first Indigenous person to take home an Oscar. But as she makes giant strides for visibility, there are powerful forces trying to make her disappear. For transcripts of this series, please visit: https://www.cbc.ca/radio/podcastnews/buffy-transcripts-listen-1.6796442 Program Note [Dec, 05 2023] Since the podcast’s release in 2022, there have been significant updates. Listen to the series postscript here: https://www.cbc.ca/listen/cbc-podcasts/1064-buffy/episode/16027869-e6-postscript

Access the transcript for this episode here.

Episode 5: Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

Buffy's free in Hawaii. It's been 16 years since her last record and she’s ready for a comeback. But she's determined to do things her way and in 1992 she records Coincidence and Likely Stories, the first album made over the internet. Like always, Buffy continues to carve out space for other Indigenous artists. An award she helps to create has a ripple effect around the world – ensuring a strong, Indigenous future for music. For transcripts of this series, please visit: https://www.cbc.ca/radio/podcastnews/buffy-transcripts-listen-1.6796442 Program Note [Dec, 05 2023] Since the podcast’s release in 2022, there have been significant updates. Listen to the series postscript here: https://www.cbc.ca/listen/cbc-podcasts/1064-buffy/episode/16027869-e6-postscript

Access the transcript for this episode here.

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