Oscar-winning people singer Buffy Sainte-Marie has long been seen as a barrier-breaking, Indigenous icon — but a recent news investigation has raised uncertainties over her Indigenous roots.
A Canadian Broadcast Company element on the singer-songwriter has led to accusations that Sainte-Marie is a “pretendian” — the expression coined for individuals who fake acquiring Indigenous ancestry.
Sainte-Marie, 82, claimed that she was born on a Piapot Cree reservation in Canada and was adopted by white dad and mom as aspect of the country’s notorious Sixties Scoop in which Indigenous youngsters ended up taken out from their family members and adopted by white family members in a govt policy of compelled assimilation.
But the new CBC report cites a start certificate that states the singer was born “Beverly Jean Santamaria” in Stoneham, Massachusetts to dad and mom of European lineage.
It also quotations many family members associates who declare “her tale is an elaborate fabrication.”
Sainte-Marie shared her Cree tradition with youths throughout the nation when she appeared on Sesame Avenue in the 1970s and she has received various awards which include an Oscar in 1983 for co-producing the tune “Up In which We Belong” — for which she grew to become regarded as the very first Indigenous man or woman to win the prestigious award.
She rose to achievements among other folks singers in the early 1960s and has reappeared in pop lifestyle in recent a long time thanks to reveals, podcasts and documentaries on her lifestyle legacy and work fighting for Indigenous people today.
In 2021, Sainte-Marie’s deal with even appeared on a Canadian stamp.
The importance of her role inside of Indigenous communities, specifically those people in Canada, made her likely fraud all the more shocking and hurtful to members of these communities who experience their heritage, pain and heritage were being stolen for her edge.
“It’s theft of options, methods. It’s theft of our tales,” Indigenous scholar Kim TallBear, a professor of Indigenous scientific tests at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, explained to CBC.
The folks singer referred to as the allegations “hurtful” in a statement unveiled just before the CBC report was revealed, figuring out what was to appear.
She wrote that what she appreciates of her Indigenous ancestry, she acquired from her “growing up mother” and her individual study later on in existence.
“My mom advised me quite a few issues, together with that I was adopted and that I was Indigenous, but there was no documentation as was frequent for Indigenous children born in the 1940’s,” Sainte-Marie said.
She included that she doesn’t know wherever she is from or who her delivery mother and father ended up and “will hardly ever know.”
What she does know, she said, is that she was adopted by a Piapot Initially Country few, Emile Piapot and Clara Starblanket Paipot, “in accordance with Cree law and customs” as a youthful adult.
Sainte-Marie provides a different identify to a growing checklist of outstanding Indigenous figures whose ancestry has been questioned as fraudulent, like Sacheen Littlefeather — whose evident lies had been outed by her sisters following her demise.