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Don't call Buffy Sainte-Marie a 'fighter' for social justice

Buffy Sainte-Marie

Folk singer Buffy Sainte-Marie will perform in Traverse City Tuesday night.

Sainte-Marie’s career has spanned more than 50 years and taken her all over the world. In the 1960s, she was known as part of the folk music revival, especially for her protest song Universal Soldier. In the 1970s, she was blacklisted from radio airwaves because of her advocacy for indigenous rights.

But Sainte-Marie objects to the terms "fighter" or "warrior" being used to describe her.

"I'm not a fighter," she says. "I believe the word 'warrior' ought to be reserved for our veterans. I am not going to risk my neck to kill somebody. I don't believe in killing anybody. There are a lot of things I would die for, but there is nothing that I would kill for."

Last month, Sainte-Marie's latest album, Power In the Blood, was honored with two Juno Awards in her native Canada.

She spoke with Aaron Selbig about her music career, her quiet life at home in Hawaii and the progress that's been made, especially in Canada, toward indigenous rights.