Buffy Sainte-Marie – Photo credit: Matt Barnes
Published April 9, 2018
LINCOLN, NEBRASKA – Buffy Sainte-Marie (Cree) and Harriett Skye, Ph.D. (Hunkpapa Lakota) will receive the Frank Blythe Award for Media Excellence on Friday, April 20, at 5:30 p.m. at the Van Brundt Visitors Center during the opening reception for the Seventh Biennial Vision Maker Film Festival. Ms. Sainte-Marie will be present, and Jessica Skye Paul (Nez Perce/Lakota) will accept the award on her mother’s behalf. Dr. Skye passed away on January 20, 2018.
“Both of these women have had a significant influence in the way Native Peoples are seen through mainstream media,” said Vision Maker Media Executive Director Shirley Sneve (Rosebud Sioux), “as a young professional, I was deeply influenced by both of them.”
Vision Maker Media recognizes outstanding contributions in advancing opportunities for Indigenous media by honoring an individual or organization. The late Michael Smith
(Lakota), founder of the American Indian Film Institute
and Festival in San Francisco, California, received the first award. Peggy Berryhill
(Muskogee), a pioneer in Native Radio was the second recipient.
Ms. Sainte-Marie has spent her whole life creating, and her artistry, humanitarian efforts and Indigenous leadership have made her a unique force in the music industry. In 1969, she made one of the world’s first electronic vocal albums; in 1982 she became the only Indigenous person to win an Oscar; she spent five years on Sesame Street where she became the first woman to breastfeed on national television. She’s been blacklisted and silenced. She’s written pop standards sung and recorded by the likes of Janis Joplin, Elvis Presley, Donovan, Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes. She penned “Universal Soldier,” the definitive anti-war anthem of the 20th century. She is an icon who keeps one foot firmly planted on both sides of the North American border, in the unsurrendered territories that comprise Canada and the USA.
Dr. Skye, (Makhpiya To Win – Blue Sky Woman), started her career as the editor of The Standing Rock Star in Fort Yates, North Dakota. She went on to host INDIAN COUNTRY TODAY on KFYR-TV from 1972 – 1984. The bi-weekly, half-hour interview program placed prominent Indians before the public to talk about issues from a tribal and political point of view, earning her a loyal following among tribal and non-tribal viewers. Dr. Skye was the editor of the United Tribes News, led the Office of Public Information and hosted weekly radio shows as part of her numerous journalistic endeavors. She advocated for Indian people to tell their own stories and worked tirelessly to make that happen throughout her career. In September of 2016, Dr. Skye was inducted into the Native American Hall of Honor at the North Dakota state capitol. This award is given to Native Americans who have gone above and beyond in representing their tribe and culture. She was a worthy recipient, dedicating her life to Native and women’s rights and educational endeavors for Native students. Dr. Skye earned her Ph.D. from U.C. Berkeley and completed her undergraduate work at New York University.