Today is Indigenous Peoples’ Day! Pete Seeger

“I was born in New York in 1919. My grandparents had a farm up upstate, and that’s what I remember, camping out in the barn and going swimming in the local brook. I put up a teepee out in the cow pasture. I had to put a fence around it so the cows didn’t break it down. I was a big fan of Native Americans. Did you ever hear of Ernest Thompson Seton? He wrote books about Native Americans. He said, “If you want to have role models, don’t go to Europe. Right here were men who were strong and women who were strong, and they cooperated. If there was food, everybody shared; if there was no food, everybody, including the chief and his family, were hungry.” And that seemed to be the way people should live.”

– Pete Seeger

“Pete Seeger did so much for the world through music, in ways both subtle and big. You know, heaven must be a great place, because there are a lot of people going there!” – Buffy Sainte-Marie

Today is Indigenous Peoples’ Day!

Indigenous Peoples’ Day is celebrated on the second Monday of October to honor the cultures and histories of the Native American people.

With this in mind, let’s take a moment to celebrate Buffy Sainte-Marie!

Buffy Sainte-Marie is a Canadian-American Cree singer-songwriter, musician, composer, visual artist, educator, pacifist and social activist. Throughout her career in all of these areas, her work has focused on issues of indigenous peoples of the Americas. Her singing and writing repertoire also includes subjects of love, war, religion, and mysticism.

In 1997, Buffy founded the Cradleboard Teaching Project, an educational curriculum devoted to better understanding Native Americans. She has won recognition and many awards and honors for both her music and her work in education and social activism.

Her 19th album, “Medicine Songs” (2017), features a mix of new material, such as “You Got to Run (Spirit of the Wind),” a collaboration with Tanya Tagaq, and re-recorded older songs, including “Starwalker,” “Little Wheel Spin and Spin” and “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.” The album drew positive reviews and went on to win the 2018 Juno Award for Indigenous Music Album of the Year.

Of the album, “NOW” magazine’s Michael Rancic wrote:

“Another artist might show signs of disappointment or uncertainty when faced with the notion that not much has changed in half a century, but on “Medicine Songs”, in the face of the unchanging nature of the oppression she’s expressed through her music, Buffy Sainte-Marie has chosen to be just as determined, unflinching and constant in her own art.”

In the video below, Buffy Sainte-Marie and Tanya Tagaq perform “You Got to Run (Spirit of the Wind)”. The song was written by Sainte-Marie and inspired by champion dogsled racer George Attla, who competed in the first-ever Iditarod dog sled race in 1973 and was the subject of the 1979 film, “Spirit of the Wind”.

The film shows the life of George Attla as a young Athabaskan trapper living in the bush in Alaska and then in a TB sanitarium in town. He comes home with a fused knee too much cross cultural conflict, and goes on to find his way as a dog sled driver.

You Got to Run (Spirit of the Wind)

Whether you’re woman or whether you’re man

Sometimes you got to take a stand

Just because you think you can

You got to run, you got to run . . .

Click the link below to experience the power and wonder of the “Spirit of the Wind”.

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