Activism Has Many Faces

3 Social Activists: Midwife Marinah Valenzuela-Farrell (immigration rights), Buffy Sainte-Marie (indigenous rights), Geradine Simkins (women's rights)

I met one of my activist heros at the 2nd International Indigenous Women’s Health Conference held in Albuquerque last month. Buffy Sainte-Marie made history with her song—Universal Soldier—during the Vietnam War era. The song was actually about the individual responsibility we all share for war, for making, financing or sustaining wars. Her song won her fame in the anti-war movement, but as a Canadian Cree singer and songwriter, it also got her banned from many U.S. concert and educational venues.  That song is what she is most known for—but Buffy remained an activist on many fronts for the next four decades using her music and poetry to educate and affect social change, and to work for the rights of indigenous people and their lands.

Buffy was a keynote speaker at the Indigenous Women’s Health Conference. I was there to represent Healthy Native Babies, a SIDS risk-reduction program sponsored by the National Institute of Health. I have been a co-designer and consultant for this project since its inception over eight years ago.

I had the great good fortune to hear Buffy speak and sing, and then to offer her a signed copy of my book as a gift for her years of activism on the planet. I figured she would love to read about the courageous midwives who have been relentlessly working and advocating for women’s rights during the same time period in which Buffy has been working for human rights. It was real honor and very exciting to stand next to Buffy Sainte-Marie and to send her home with my book!

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One Response to Activism Has Many Faces

  1. Lisa Wolfe says:

    Dear Geradine,
    I have been thinking about you over the years, and especially recently. I was not surprised to see your lovely book. It is a pleasure to have. It has your spirit, and the goodness of life all over it!
    I was particularly grateful to see the cultural aspect of the stories and to read what has come of a few women I have worked with. You and I worked together for a very short time while I was at Pokagon Band, Potowatomi Indians in Dowagiac, MI. I always appreciated your card you sent to me when I left. I have carried you in my heart fondly.
    A lot has taken place for us both over the years. I have taken a bit of time in the UK to study healing of people and animals across the lifespan and spiritual counseling. I wonder if there is a way we could meet for a meal, or a lake walk? I would love to be in touch with you~ My phone number is (616) 375-0052. I can also be reached by my email, wolfe.lisa8@gmail.com.
    I wish you every blessing on your journey. With much love, Lisa

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