As someone who came of age during the anti-war, anti-nuclear movements of the 1960s and 70s, the continuity of promoting peace by such honored elders as Buffy Sainte-Marie — who was once blacklisted for her peace songs — is a poignant reminder that the struggle for environmental sanity and harmonious humanity are one and the same. Sainte-Marie, a Canadian Cree singer- songwriter from Saskatchewan, and special guest on Sesame Street for five years in the 1970s, went on to establish a foundation for American Indian scholarships as well as K-12 Native American curriculum development and teacher training. Through the Cradleboard Teaching Project, she was able to further cross-cultural connectivity in 11 states and four foreign countries.
Along with Sainte-Marie’s friend and fellow singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell (also from Saskatchewan), Buffy served to inspire many of my generation to question consumerism and confront militarism in a way that set us on a different path that continues to this day. That path also led to a greater respect for indigenous peoples, cultures, and ways of life.
In a sense, the values we acquired in part through inspirational songs in our youth, helped us to weather the storms of corruption and bigotry that currently plague our country and the world. While inspiration alone is insufficient to endure the challenges we face, it is a good beginning. In fact, it is foundational to the commitment we develop over time.
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