Joanne Shenandoah

Joanne Shenandoah (born 1958) is a singer, composer and acoustic guitarist based in the United States. She is a member of the Wolf Clan; the Oneida Nation is part of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois Confederacy). Her music is a combination of traditional songs and melodies with a blend of instrumentation.

Joanne Shenandoah
Oneida, New York, U.S.
Occupation(s)Singer, guitarist, author
InstrumentsVocals, acoustic guitar

She has recorded more than 15 albums and won numerous awards, including an Honorary Doctorate of Music by Syracuse University in 2002.[1][2] She received a Grammy Award for her part in the album Sacred Ground: A Tribute to Mother Earth (2005), which had tracks by numerous artists.[3]

Early life and education

Shenandoah is the daughter of Maisie Shenandoah, Wolf Clanmother of the Oneida Nation of New York, and the late Clifford Shenandoah, an Onondaga Nation chief. She has three sisters, Vicky, Diane, and Danielle. As the Oneida have a matrilineal kinship system, the sisters were all considered to be born into their mother's Wolf Clan. Descent and inheritance passes through the maternal line.

Through her father's line, she is a direct descendant of Skenandoa, also known as John Shenandoah, an Oneida "pine tree chief".

Joanne Shenandoah grew up on the Oneida Territory near Oneida, New York. She learned many traditional songs and music styles, and plays many instruments, piano, guitar, flute, etc.. She has written music and developed her own style, blending traditional and contemporary techniques and instrumentation.


Joanne Shenandoah started performing in the Syracuse area. She has 23 recordings, and her first solo CD was recorded in 1989. In addition to her solo works, she has performed tracks with other musicians, or contributed tracks to group albums.

Although based in the Syracuse area, she travels frequently for her mostly solo performances in the United States and internationally. In 2011, Shenandoah and her daughter Leah recorded on the title track Path to Zero with Jim Morrison. The album also included artists, Sting/Bono, Sinéad O'Connor, Robert Downey, Jr. and others.

Shenandoah was invited to Rome, Italy to participate in the October 2012 celebration of the canonization of Kateri Tekakwitha, the first Native American saint. She performed an original composition for this occasion at The Vatican – St. Peter's Basilica. She has performed in major venues and at major public events, including at The White House, Carnegie Hall, five Presidential Inaugurations, Madison Square Garden, Crystal Bridges Museum, National Museum of the American Indian, The Ordway Theater, Hummingbird Centre, Toronto Skydome, Parliament of the World's Religions, (Africa, Spain and Australia) and Woodstock '94.[4] [5]


Shenandoah is a Grammy Award winner. She has received more Native American Music Awards (14 to date) than any other Native Artist, and a total of more than 40 music awards.[6] She has also received numerous Indie Awards and Syracuse Area Music Awards (SAMMYS).[7] She was presented with the Rigoberta Menchú – Highest award by the Native Film Festival in Montreal, Quebec, Canada for her soundtrack in the documentary, Our Land Our Life.

Shenandoah was recently honored with the Atlas Award for her work with the climate change movement, both in the US and around the world.[8]

Personal life

Shenandoah hails from a traditional family. She is married to Doug George-Kanentiio (Akwesasne Mohawk), a co-founder of the Native American Journalists Association and published author.

Shenandoah is one of the original board members of the Hiawatha Institute for Indigenous Knowledge, which operates in partnership with Syracuse University.[9]


  • Joanne Shenandoah (1989). "Joanne Shenandoah". Canyon Records.
  • Joanne Shenandoah (1994). "Once in a Red Moon". Canyon Records.
  • Joanne Shenandoah (2005). "Loving Ways". Canyon Records.
  • Joanne Shenandoah (1995). "Life Blood". Silver Wave.
  • Joanne Shenandoah (1996). "Matriarch: Iroquois Women's Songs". Silver Wave.
  • Joanne Shenandoah (1997). "All Spirits Sing". Rhino Records.
  • Joanne Shenandoah (1998). "Orenda". Silver Wave.
  • Joanne Shenandoah (2000). "Peacemaker's Journey". Silver Wave.
  • Joanne Shenandoah (2000). "Warrior In Two Worlds". Red Feather.
  • Joanne Shenandoah (2001). "Eagle Cries". Red Feather.
  • Joanne Shenandoah (2003). "Covenant". Silver Wave.
  • Joanne Shenandoah (2005). "Skywoman". Silver Wave.
  • Maisie Shenandoah; Liz Robert (2003). "Sisters: Oneida Iroquois Hymns". Silver Wave.
  • Joanne Shenandoah & Michael Bucher (2005). "Bitter Tears Sacred Ground". Hondo Mesa Records. Archived from the original on 2009-11-22.
  • Joanne Shenandoah (2005). "Enchanted Garden". Warner Chappell. Archived from the original on 2009-11-22.
  • Joanne Shenandoah (2011). "Lifegivers". Warner Chappell. Archived from the original on 2009-11-22.
  • Joanne Shenandoah (2011). "One World Christmas". Warner Chappell. Archived from the original on 2009-11-22.

As contributor


  1. Homan Rodoski, Kelly. "Syracuse University Trustee Wendy Cohen and Native American recording artist Joanne Shenandoah-Tekalihwakhwa to receive honorary degrees at 2002 SU/ESF Commencement". News Archive. Syracuse University. Archived from the original on 12 May 2014. Retrieved 11 May 2014.
  2. Eisenstadt, Peter; Moss, Laura-Eve (2005). The Encyclopedia of New York State (1st ed.). Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press. p. 1409. ISBN 9780815608080.
  3. "Grammy-Winning Musician Joanne Shenandoah to Perform at STLCC-Meramec". St. Louis Community College. Retrieved 11 May 2014.
  4. "Introduction". Official website of Joanne Shenandoah. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  6. "Hall of Fame". Native American Music Awards. Retrieved 11 May 2014.
  7. "SAMMYS Hall of Fame". Syracuse Area Music Awards. Archived from the original on 12 May 2014. Retrieved 11 May 2014.
  8. "INAUGURAL ATLAS AWARDS CEREMONY" (PDF). University of New South Wales Institute of Environmental Studies. Retrieved 11 May 2014.
  9. "HIAWATHA Institute for Indigenous Knowledge". Syracuse University. Archived from the original on 12 May 2014. Retrieved 11 May 2014.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.