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Oscar-winning folk singer Buffy Sainte-Marie slams investigation into Indigenous ancestry

todayNovember 25, 2023 4

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Buffy Sainte-Marie slammed the allegations she faked her Native American ancestry, calling the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation‘s investigation “traumatizing and unfair.”

“This has been incredibly re-traumatizing for me and unfair to all involved,” the Oscar-winner said in a statement to the Hollywood Reporter.

Sainte-Marie’s comments come after the CBC released an investigative feature titled “Making an Icon,” which featured some of the folk singer’s family members and a birth certificate that she claims she had never seen before.

Following the release of the feature, Sainte-Marie has been called a “pretendian,” the term coined for people who fake having Indigenous ancestry.

“The attack on my character is full of mistakes and omissions,” she claimed. “While I will not stoop to respond to every false allegation, I feel it is important to clarify two things.”

Sainte-Marie, 82, said the “central proof” in the CBC story was based around came from a “fabricated” story from her brother Alan, who she claims sexually abused her.

Following the release of the feature, Sainte-Marie has been called a “pretendian,” the term coined for people who fake having Indigenous ancestry.
MediaPunch / BACKGRID

“It hurts me deeply to discover that my estranged family grew up scared of me and thinking these lies because of a letter I sent intended to protect me from further abuse from my brother,” she said.

Sainte-Marie first rose to fame in the 1960’s for her folk music, playing at music festivals showcasing her Cree heritage, eventually being named Billboard’s Best New Artist before she appeared on Sesame Street in the 1970s winning numerous awards including an Oscar in 1983

Sainte-Marie with the International Emmy award for “Arts Programming” for her Canadian show “Buffy Sainte-Marie: Carry It On” on Nov. 20, 2023 in NYC.
PETER FOLEY/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

She was the first Indigenous person to win the prestigious award, after co-writing the song “Up Where We Belong,” for the film “An Officer and a Gentleman.”

Sainte-Marie’s second grievance with the feature was based on a birth certificate the CBC obtained that claimed she wasn’t born in Canada, but rather in Stoneham, Mass.

“It was quite shocking to me to hear a city clerk say she had 100% confidence in its authenticity. I have never known if my birth certificate was real,” she said. “I have used it because it was the only document I’ve had my whole life.”

Sainte-Marie then claimed she had spent years learning about her past through her family and through research of her own but admitted she couldn’t figure out exactly where she came from.
MediaPunch / BACKGRID

While she admitted to not knowing the exact truth of her past, Sainte-Marie says she learned about her past through her mother who also had an indigenous heritage, and taught her she was born on a Piapot Cree reservation in Canada before being adopted by the Santamaria family near Boston, Mass.

She then claimed she had spent years learning about her past through her family and through research of her own but admitted she couldn’t figure out exactly where she came from.

“For decades, I tried to find my birth parents and information about my background,” she said. “Through that research what became clear, and what I’ve always been honest about: I don’t know where I’m from or who my birth parents are, and I will never know.”

“Most importantly, this is my life – I am not a piece of paper. I am a product of both my families and all my experiences in this world.”



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Written by: Soft FM Radio Staff

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