Buffy Sainte-Marie was a graduating college senior in 1962 and hit the ground running in the early the Sixties, after the beatniks and before the hippies. All alone she toured North America's colleges, reservations and concert halls, meeting both huge acclaim and huge misperception from audiences and record companies who expected Pocahontas in fringes, and instead were both entertained and educated with their initial dose of Native American reality in the first person.
By age 24, Buffy Sainte-Marie had appeared all over Europe, Canada, Australia and Asia, receiving honors, medals and awards which continue to this day. Her song "Until It's Time for You to Go" was recorded by Elvis and Barbra and Cher, and her "Universal Soldier" became the anthem of the peace movement. For her very first album she was voted Billboard's Best New Artist.
She disappeared suddenly from the mainstream American airwaves during the Lyndon Johnson years. As part of a blacklist which affected Eartha Kitt, Taj Mahal and a host of other outspoken performers, her name was included on White House stationery as among those whose music "deserved to be suppressed". In Indian country and abroad, however, her fame only grew. She continued to appear at countless grassroots concerts, AIM events and other activist benefits. She made 17 albums of her music, three of her own television specials, spent five years on Sesame Street, scored movies, helped to found Canada's 'Music of Aboriginal Canada' JUNO category, raised a son, earned a Ph.D. in Fine Arts, taught Digital Music as adjunct professor at several colleges, and won an Academy Award Oscar for the song "Up Where We Belong".
Buffy Sainte-Marie virtually invented the role of Native American international activist pop star. Her concern for protecting indigenous intellectual property, and her distaste for the exploitation of Native American artists and performers has kept her in the forefront of activism in the arts for forty years. Presently she operates the Nihewan Foundation for Native American Education whose Cradleboard Teaching Project serves children and teachers in eighteen states.