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Native American, Music Community Loses Musician and Activist Joanne Shenandoah

Joanne Shenandoah at WAER cropped.jpg
WAER File Photo
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Joanne Shenandoah visited WAER in April of 2021 to talk about her health, book and music projects. She spoke with Common Threads Host Larry Hoyt.

The Native American community, Central New York, and the music world lost an icon with the passing of Joanne Shenandoah last night. Shenandoah had been battling health issues and was recently at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona for treatment, where she died.

Many knew Shenandoah through her musical career, one that spanned Her music was recognized by a Grammy award and other Grammy nominations, and numerous awards from the Nammy’s, native American Grammy’s, including several Artist of the Year honors and a lifetime achievement award.

More than a musician, Shenandoah was considered a community treasure, earning an honorary Doctorate from Syracuse University in 2002. She also wrote books and worked on film and television projects.

She performed at the White House, the Vatican, at United Nations events and many other gatherings around the world. She also worked for women’s and children’s rights, as well as peace and environmental causes.

Joanne Shenandoah appeared on WAER a number of times, most recently in an interview with Common Threads host Larry Hoyt this past April, which you can listen to above.

Shenandoah also was a guest on the WAER Podcast The 315 in 2017.

She is survived by her husband, Doug George-Kanentiio and daughter Leah Shenandoah, herself a musician, jewelry artist and designer. Joanne Shenandoah was 63-years-old.