Toronto Mike

We Need To Talk About Buffy

Only about 13 months ago, I wrote this about Buffy Sainte-Marie. Go ahead and click over for a quick read. It's about how much this woman means to me. As listeners of Toronto Mike'd know, I'm a Buffy fan since the 70s when I saw her on Sesame Street.

Buffy Sainte-Marie
Today is our National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, and that got me thinking about the first indigenous person I ever knew. Buffy Sainte-Marie was on my favourite show as a toddler and young boy. She appeared on Sesame Street from 1975-1981, and I loved her. National Day for Truth and Reconcili…

At least I was. Now that you've read what I wrote in September 2022, I suggest you watch this episode of CBC's The Fifth Estate. I've seen it twice. Check it out and then come back to read my thoughts.

For almost all of my life I've known Buffy as an Indigenous Canadian woman. In reality, she was born Beverly Santamaria to white Americans. She was born and raised white, Christian, and middle class. She had no ties to any indigenous community until she was in her 20s.

I caught wind earlier in the week that something was up, and I braced myself, but I wasn't quite prepared for how thorough and damning this Fifth Estate invesgation would be. I've watched this video twice, and throughout the day I've become angrier and angrier.

Next week, Hamilton musician Tom Wilson is visiting for an episode of Toronto Mike'd. We're going to talk about Junkhouse, but I'm also going to tell him how I feel about these Buffy revelations and find out how he feels. Tom was led to believe his birth parents were white Canadians of Irish descent and learned in his 50s that he's actually a Mohawk man who was adopted. His perspective on this will be fascinating, and I think it will do me well to converse with him about this subject.

Right now I feel that Buffy knowingly invented a false history, claiming she was born on a Saskatchewan reserve and adopted into a white American family. She also falsely claimed she was a victim of the Sixties Scoop, a period in which a series of policies were enacted in Canada that enabled child welfare authorities to take, or "scoop up," Indigenous children from their families and communities for placement in foster homes, from which they would be adopted by white families. Her deception and opportunistic actions have left me angry and hurt.

I feel duped.

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About Toronto Mike
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