Indigenous community gives Canada Post a stamp of approval
- EFN Staff | December 17, 2021
What does Buffy Sainte-Marie have in common with politicians, royalty and athletes?
The living legend is the newest Canadian to be immortalized by Canada Post and many are giving the move their stamp of approval.
A special ceremony was held in Ottawa on Nov. 18 at the National Arts Centre to unveil the image that will be featured on the new stamp.
The world-renowned singer, songwriter, artist and advocate, known to many by a single moniker, began her music career in the 1960s. Buffy soon made a name for herself and used her platform to raise awareness about important political and social issues.
Although not much is known about her early beginnings, it's believed she was born on the Piapot First Nation in February 1941. However, she was adopted by a non-Indigenous couple and raised in New England.
“Not only are we proud of Buffy's amazing accomplishments, but we are also so proud to have one of our own honoured in this way,” said Chief Mark Fox of Piapot First Nation.
He said Buffy has made efforts to keep the connection to her home community alive with frequent visits.
“As her career progressed, she always remembered her roots and where she came from,” said Fox.
Buffy returns to Piapot for ceremony or if she just happens to be nearby, he said.
Although her career spans six decades, the 80-year-old remains an active performer and is currently on tour.
“Throughout the years she has connected with many friends and relatives and has always thought of us when she worked on projects,” said Fox. “In 2018, she performed at Chief Payepot School along with 11 Regina Symphony Orchestra players during its Truth and Reconciliation Outreach Tour. She ended up staying afterwards to watch the talent show and interact with the students.”
Despite her fame, she has never forgotten her roots and the community appreciates her for it.
Fox is not the only local who is beaming with pride over the new stamp.
Blair Stonechild, professor of Indigenous Studies at First Nations University of Canada, who penned Buffy’s biography titled, It’s My Way, is equally excited.
“Buffy is not only a pioneer of Indigenous music but a musical icon,” he said in an email statement. “Her creative work and tireless advocacy for our people makes her certainly worthy of recognition via being on a stamp.”
Buffy’s song-writing is legendary and many of her songs have been covered by the likes of Elvis Presley, Neil Diamond, Barbra Streisand, Cher and Céline Dion.
Like any true fan, Stonechild said he has already purchased a pack of the stamps.
Buffy is not the first Indigenous person to be honoured with a stamp.
Other Indigenous people to appear on a Canada Post stamp since Confederation include: Pitseoluk Ashoona, Molly Brant, Sheila Watt-Cloutier, Emily Pauline-Johnson, Kateri Takakwitha, Crowfoot, Gabriel Dumont, Chief Dan George, Tom Longboat, Matonabbee, Louis Riel, Robbie Robertson, and Tecumseh.
The stamp features a photograph by Simon Fowler, which appeared on the cover of her single "The Big Ones Get Away" from her 1992 album Coincidence and Likely Stories.
The stamps and collectibles are available at canadapost.ca and post offices across Canada.