It’s not every convention that an Oscar-winning singer/songwriter treats delegates to an a capella performance of a song from her next album, but that’s exactly what happened this morning.
- More: Buffy Saint-Marie’s speech to CUPE 2007 National Convention (MP3 format)
“How many of you know the word ‘Keshagesh?” she asked the rapt audience. “It means ‘greedy guts.’ Like a little puppy that wants to eat its own, and everyone else’s” she explained, before performing the piece, effortlessly drumming out an intricate beat on the podium to accompany herself.
Her speech touched on many issues that our members live with. Education. Equality. Political action. Culture. History. She spoke of the different ways of learning, drawing attention to her own Cradleboard Project, which has developed a complete geography, science, social studies and music curriculum from a First Nations perspective.
She also spoke of peace, pointing out that there are several military colleges but no school of peace. Her poem “The War Racket”, which she also performed, didn’t pull any punches:
“That’s how it’s done
About every 30 years.
The rich fill their coffers
The poor fill with tears
The young fill the coffins
The old hang a wreath
The politicians get photographed with their names underneath.”
Buffy’s address was a fantastic addition to our convention, and all were thrilled to have the opportunity to listen to her. After her presentation, she met further with members of our National Aboriginal Council.