This time of year we have several things on our minds: Will the weather keep us from getting home, how long will it take for our family to make us crazy, and gifts.
You may be worried about something like what to get your dad (McDonald’s wants you to buy him Chicken McNuggets. I don’t care how much stuff your dad has, I think this is highly unadvisable and also insulting). Or maybe you’re wondering what’ll end up under the tree with your name on it. Or maybe you have children who have sent a mile-long list to Santa.
At times like these, we should keep Buffy Sainte-Marie’s song No No Keshagesh, from her newest album Running for the Drum, in mind. “Keshagesh” translates to “Greedy Guts”, which Buffy says is “what you call a little puppy who eats his own and then wants everybody else’s.”
This remarkable Cree singer got her start in her early twenties, and her song Until It’s Time for You to Go was recorded by Elvis, Barbra and Cher. The first album she released was voted as Billboard’s Best New Artist.
If the three Juno Awards she’s won hasn’t got her on your radar yet, it may be thanks to good ol’ American censorship she experienced through the 70s and 80s. Buffy Sainte-Marie
“disappeared suddenly from the mainstream American airwaves during the Lyndon Johnson years. Unknown to her, as part of a blacklist which affected Eartha Kitt, Taj Mahal and a host of other outspoken performers, her name was included on White House stationery as among those whose music “deserved to be suppressed”, and radio airplay disappeared. Invited onto television talk shows on the basis of her success with Until It’s Time for You to Go, she was told that Native issues and the peace movement had become unfashionable and to limit her comments to celebrity chat. The next presidential administration, that of Richard Nixon, also came down hard on her, as this was the time of Wounded Knee.”
Despite the blacklisting Buffy has continued to create powerful songs with meaningful stories. Running for the Drum won Buffy her third Juno in 2009. She released her 19th album this year.
With this impending Christmas we can take a page from Buffy’s book and all work on not being a keshagesh and choosing instead to lead a voluntarily simple life.