My introduction to Buffy Sainte-Marie came through Sesame Street, like it did for a lot of people in my generation.
My primary memory is of a fascination with the mouth bow that she played, and it is only one of many instruments that she plays, but it was one that I had never seen before, or since really. (I believe my love for the steel drum comes from Sesame Street too.)
Listening to her again after all these years, the first thing that struck me was the unique timbre of Buffy's voice. It was familiar, but something I had forgotten. Then, as I continued to listen, it was the overwhelming variety of the music.
Many of the songs have a folk music/protest song feeling, and that makes sense for someone who has always been an activist. There are also songs that sound country, and songs that sound rock, and an amazing amount of variety. Some songs seem to reference the Middle Ages. The variety should make sense given the longevity of her career, but the variety was already there at a time when the career had been much shorter.
I have to go back to Sesame Street, because that's where I started. I looked up some old clips, and there were some of regular performances, which is more what I remember, but there are also clips of her with her son Cody, and of Buffy turning bath time and swimming into songs. Even the most basic activities can be set to music that incorporates the activity, because the music is so much a part of her.
Everything else comes from having the music be so strongly a part of her that it flows through everything around her, or from her recognizing the music around her so well that it goes inside.
That's what I will remember now.