National Day for Truth and Reconciliation September 30, 2022
Today, National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, we honour and acknowledge the importance of Indigenous peoples’ relationship with land, the attempt to sever that link through the Residential School System, and the incredible reconnections happening now across Canada.
Tonight we join in celebrating the leadership and talent of singer/songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie in her prime time special Buffy Sainte-Marie: Starwalker. Dr. Roberta Bondar takes pride and joy in introducing/saluting the resilient universal conscience that Buffy Sainte-Marie has become for peoples across cultures.
Dr. Roberta Bondar’s salute to Buffy Sainte-Marie:
I would like to thank Buffy Sainte-Marie for inviting me to introduce her song, Moonshot.
With its secrets and enchantment, the night sky remains a universal light for those who look up and beyond our earthly life. In ancient and now in modern times, the shape shifting of the moon remains key to cultural identities worldwide. When I looked at the moon during my spaceflight, I sensed it had witnessed the history of our planet and its civilizations over thousands and millions of years. It is a silent voyageur of the sky with the power to turn the tides of Earth and illuminate generations.
Buffy Sainte-Marie also illuminates our lives. She has touched multiple generations with her music and lyrics and continues to be at the forefront of music with a message. Buffy has educated, informed and lifted us up.
And in the case of Chickasaw tribal citizen Commander John Herrington, Buffy lifted him up like no other. The first Native American to go to space, he brought Buffy and her band to Cape Canaveral for his inaugural space flight — where she performed two songs for him.
Now, the first Native American woman — Wailacki tribal citizen, Colonel Nicole Aunupu Mann is set to go into space.
The performance you will see, captures Buffy’s musical storytelling through the movement of dance. Métis choreographer Jera Wolfe designed this dance piece, while the orchestration and arrangement of Moonshot is based on Buffy’s notes.
Moonshot paints a picture of travellers going to a new place and realizing there are already people there: Indigenous people, whose eyes and souls have touched the heavens, and even have a telepathic Angel at their side.
And above our Earth, in my spaceflight experience, there is a sense the universe possesses a deepness and intensity of its own beckoning to space travellers —- star walkers.
The show is available to stream on CBC Gem.
You can hear Buffy Sainte-Marie and Dr. Roberta Bondar speak on a wide range of subjects in Bondar’s podcast Sharing Space.