I’ve been touched by people’s response to my memoir with its theme of challenging my unconsciously colonial ways of thinking to make space in my mind and heart to fully appreciate, honour and respect Indigenous ways of thinking that have prevailed here since before recorded time. At a book-launch event in Orillia earlier this week, someone asked me to comment on the CBC’s Fifth Estate piece on Buffy Sainte Marie. I said that I was heart sick, especially at hearing about the anxiety and confusion it’s triggered among Indigenous people. I also mentioned a letter I’d sent to the Globe and Mail in response:
“As someone who’s worked in the cultural sector all my life, I am dismayed at the ethical judgement behind CBC’s decision to showcase a story questioning the legitimacy of Buffy Sainte Marie’s identity, and on such a prestigious platform as the Fifth Estate. That program usually investigates lies, coverups and corruption in corporations and governments — all in the public interest to expose.
What public interest is being served here, in challenging the story this 82-year old was told growing up?
I also wonder how many Indigenous producers there are at the CBC, and if they were asked for their perspective on the ethics of pursuing this tip the CBC had received, and whether doing so might look like exploiting the celebrity Buffy Sainte Marie has achieved, over five decades, through the power of her songs.”
Let me know if these thoughts resonate with you at all.