Buffy Saint-Marie

I’m inclined to believe that political agendas in the music classroom can be more effective if not framed as such.

I have many students of color in my guitar classes (Indigenous, Black, LatinX, Somali). My wish for them, and for everyone in my class, is that they all of them learn about (and fall in love with) the richness of diverse musical cultures. 


I don’t necessarily need a National Native American Heritage Month to introduce students to the music and career of Buffy Saint-Marie. You introduce her because of her music and how it was a vehicle for her voice and vision. Otherwise, you run the risk of November becoming both a time to recognize artists like her, but also reason to put her back on the shelf when December arrives. 


She’s lived a wonderfully colorful life. She’s older than Joe Biden. And she has spitfire. If possible, ask a Native student (or colleague) to prepare a short presentation on elements of tribal music and clothing and their significance to the values of their culture. 

 Then watch this interview together as a class, and just let her story and experience resonate and inspire where it will. 

Now your students are ready to watch her perform. After viewing, ask for feedback on how her Native culture was represented both musically and visually.

Here she is performing “Starwalker,” and “You Got to Run.”

And here is her homepage.