Universal Soldier

Buffy Sainte Marie: Universal Soldier

Quiz by Sharon Michiko Yoneda

artist:  Buffy Sainte-Marie

songwriter:  Buffy Sainte-Marie

date released:  1964 by Buffy Sainte-Marie; and in 1965 by Donovan

****Recently there has been a lot of new information published by the CBC about the real origins of Buffy Sainte-Marie and her fake indigeneity.  Personally, I am interested in her music and not her narratives.  I will not change these notes as I am unsure what the real truth is.  I don't think anyone really knows, including Buffy herself.  In any event, enjoy her music and keep on building those listening skills.

Born Beverly Sainte-Marie in Qu'Appele Valley, Saskatchewan, in 1941, Buffy grew to be an influential musician, composer, educator, activist and visual artist for the First Nations people.  

Orphaned as a child, Buffy was adopted by a couple in Maine, USA, whom she came to regard as her real family.  She earned a degree at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, in Education and Asian Studies.  The Emily Carr School of Art and Design in Vancouver awarded Sainte-Marie an honorary doctorate degree for her work in the visual arts as did the University of Regina for her efforts towards the education of the First Nations people.

Sainte-Marie began her musical career by teaching herself how to play the piano and guitar. These talents led to performances in coffeehouses, folk festivals and other venues in Canada, the U.S. and Europe alongside contemporaries such as Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, and Neil Young.

Her talents in songwriting wooed others to record hit songs. Sainte-Marie wrote and recorded 'Universal Soldier' in 1964, but the song did not receive popular attention.  The following year, British singer, Donovan re-recorded the song, released it as 'The Universal Soldier', and it soared up the international hit charts.  

As a further acknowledgment of her songwriting talents, Sainte-Marie won an Oscar Award for Best Song in 1982 for co-writing the theme song for the film, 'An Officer And A Gentleman'. 

In her lifetime, Buffy Sainte-Marie has received many honours and awards.  France awarded her with the Best International Artist Award in 1993.  She received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the

National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation in 1998.  Also in 1998, Canada's highest citizenry award was bestowed upon her as Officer of the Order of Canada.

Here is the 1965 Donovan version: