Joanne shenandoah was a singer and songwriter celebrated as “the musical matriarch of Native America”.

Grammy-winning career

Shenandoah was a member of the Oneida Nation of India and grew up on the Oneida Reservation in New York City. She was a direct descendant of the 18e-th century chief of Skenandoa tribe. Through her work, Shenandoah brought her culture to the mainstream American audience, performing in both English and her native language and mixing styles such as folk, pop, and New Age with her traditional tunes. She won a record 14 Native American Music Awards, as well as a Grammy Award for her tracks on the 2005 album “Sacred Ground: A Tribute to Mother Earth”. Shenandoah has performed in notable venues including the White House, Carnegie Hall, and St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican during the 2012 canonization of the first Native American saint, Kateri Tekakwitha.

Notable quote

“My family has always taught me to be proud of being an Iroquois woman and the importance of what our culture has to offer. I have always sung – my native name is Tekaliwa khwa, which means “she sings”. I was given that [name] little girl, the elders know what they are doing. In the Iroquois way, singing – listening and playing music – is a healing force, an integral part of our society. —From an interview with 200 for Cultural Survival


Tribute to Joanne Shenandoah

Complete obituary: The Washington Post

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