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Famed Indigenous singer‑songwriter and social activist Buffy Sainte‑Marie to receive honourary degree from Dalhousie University

Posted by Media Centre on April 4, 2018 in News

(Halifax, NS) - Dalhousie University is pleased to recognize famed Indigenous singer-songwriter and social activist Buffy Sainte-Marie with an honourary degree during the university’s second Belong Forum on April 17, 2018 at the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium. In recognition of Dalhousie’s 200th anniversary year, the university will recognize extraordinary individuals whose accomplishments and achievements inspire its graduates. Recipients of these special honourary degrees have demonstrated a commitment to education, research, service, and diversity and inclusiveness. Degrees will be awarded during convocation ceremonies or as part of signature events associated with the university’s 200th anniversary.

Born in 1941 on the Piapot Cree Reserve in Saskatchewan, Buffy Sainte-Marie was adopted as a baby by a woman with Mi’kmaq ancestry and her husband and raised in Maine and Massachusetts. She graduated with honours from the University of Massachusetts in 1963 and moved to New York City, where she quickly established an international recording career.

Buffy Sainte-Marie has recorded 18 albums to date, with songs like 1964’s “Universal Solider” — adopted as an anti-war anthem — covered by artists spanning generations. In 1969, she founded the Nihewan Foundation for Native American Education, dedicated to improving the education of and about Native American people and cultures. In 1996, she created the Cradleboard Teaching Project, which serves children and teachers worldwide, facilitating communication among Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students.

Dr. Sainte-Marie was the first Indigenous person to receive an Academy Award, for the song Up Where We Belong in 1983. Other awards include numerous JUNOs, the Polaris Music Prize for 2015’s Power in the Blood, the Governor General's Performing Arts Award, a Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award, the Louis T. Delgado Award for Native American Philanthropist of the Year, and several Queen’s Jubilee Medals. She has a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame, is an Officer of the Order of Canada, and has received honorary degrees from 15 universities.

For more on Dr. Sainte-Marie, please visit Dal News.

Dr. Sainte Marie will be the second speaker in Dalhousie’s Belong Forum speaker series. The forums are a part of the university’s 200th Year of Belonging initiative centered on the question, “What would it take to create a world where we all feel like we truly belong?” Through a series of forums, workshops, volunteer opportunities and a legacy lecture series, the Year of Belonging will elevate conversations around diversity and inclusiveness at Dalhousie and in the greater community.

For more information on Dr. Sainte-Marie’s Belong Forum being held on Tuesday April 17, 2018 which is open to the public, please visit

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Great things are rarely done alone. Dalhousie University would like to extend a special thank you to its 200th anniversary sponsors: Air Canada, Canadian Tire, Clearwater Seafoods LP, Lord Nelson Hotel & Suites, Michelin North America (Canada) Inc., Scotiabank, CBC, The Chronicle Herald and The Globe and Mail.

Media Contact:
Lindsay Savelle
Communications Officer – Media Relations
Dalhousie University
T: (902) 494-4189
C: (902) 222-8810


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