An in depth investigation by the Canadian Broadcasting Company has raised questions concerning the indigenous persona of singer/songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie.
Sainte-Marie has been feted as the primary Indigenous individual to win an Academy Award for cowriting the music Up The place We Belong for the movie An Officer and a Gentleman.
Sainte-Marie, 82, has claimed that she was born on Tribal land and adopted by white dad and mom. The CBC countered that in a report printed Friday and in an accompanying episode of the documentary collection The Fifth Property. The media outlet obtained a start certificates saying Sainte-Marie was born to oldsters of European ancestry in Massachusetts.
The CBC reported that the start certificates from Stoneham, Mass. confirmed “Beverly Jean Santamaria” and her dad and mom listed as white. The CBC mentioned it had the doc authenticated by Stoneham city clerk Maria Sagarino.
Sainte-Marie, alerted to the revelations that may be coming, issued a press release posted to social media Thursday.
“I am proud of my Indigenous-American family, and the deep ties I have to Canada and my Piapot family,” Sainte-Marie wrote. The Piapot are the Cree household that formally adopted her as a younger grownup within the ’60s.
She added, “My Indigenous identity is rooted in a deep connection to a community which has had a profound role shaping my life and my work.” She added that the CBC allegations “forced me to relive and defend my experience as a survivor of sexual abuse, which I endured at the hands of my brother,” Alan St. Marie.
The CBC’s report mentioned Sainte-Marie didn’t elevate such allegations towards her brother till he began disputing her claims of Indigenous ancestry in correspondence with varied media shops (together with the Denver Submit and PBS public radio) within the early ’70s. Sainte-Marie herself raised the brother’s claims in her 2018 autobiography. The brother died in 2011.
The CBC mentioned newspaper stories from the start of Sainte-Marie’s musical profession in 1963 discovered that “in the space of those 10 months, she was referred to as Algonquin, full-blooded Algonquin, Mi’kmaq, half-Mi’kmaq, and Cree.”
The CBC’s knowledgeable supply, lawyer and “Indigenous identity fraud” knowledgeable Jean Teillet, mentioned these mix-ups are hardly incidental, since these nations hail from completely different components of Canada. The Mi’kmaq reside on the East Coast, Algonquin persons are from Ontario and northern Quebec, and Cree persons are primarily from the prairies.
The allegations towards Sainte-Marie recall these made towards Sacheen Littlefeather, the activist who declined Marlon Brando’s Oscar on stage in 1973.