Buffy Sainte-Marie appeared on Sesame Street from Season 7 (1975) (first appearing in Episode 0802) to Season 12 (1981) (making her last appearance in Episode 1564), though select inserts featuring her continued to be syndicated for a few seasons more.
Unlike the actor Bob McGrath who played a character named Bob Johnson on the show, Sainte-Marie played a fictionalized version of herself most often referred to simply as Buffy, but also acknowledging her full name within the context of Sesame Street's fictional setting. Her real life husband Sheldon and son Cody were later added to the recurring cast in Season 8, also playing versions of themselves.
When Cody was born and everybody's attention turned to him, Big Bird shut himself in his nest area, posting a "KEEP OUT! This means you!" sign on his door. Buffy explained to Big Bird, in song, that she loves "different people in different ways."
Buffy breastfed Dakota in one episode; a former Canadian politician commented that "I remember seeing that and thinking about how proud she made aboriginal women because nursing is a part of our culture. During those days it was kind of a hidden thing, so to see Buffy doing it on Sesame Street was really something."
In Season 9, most of the Sesame Street gang traveled to Hawaii to visit Buffy and her family, who, at the time, lived there on a Native American reservation. Buffy and her family would continue to fly back to Sesame Street for visits from time to time as far as season 12. The family would typically stay with Maria during these visits, but in season 12, Buffy and Cody took up residence in Oscar's trash can instead.
- "Wynken, Blynken and Nod"
- "Cripple Creek"
- "I'm an Indian Wherever I Go"
- "Children of the World"
- "The Moon"
- "Different People, Different Ways"
- "I'm Gonna Be a Country Girl"
- "Listen to the Wind"
2011 breastfeeding petition
The website Care2 launched a press release called "Bring Breastfeeding Back to Sesame Street!", started on January 2, 2012. Comparing Buffy with previous segments, the group sought to have breast feeding shown alongside bottle feeding. In response, Sesame Workshop noted that their current curriculum was STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), and that they "have depicted breast-feeding in the past when it was a natural part of the storyline."