In Memoriam: Joanne Shenandoah

December 2, 2021

The Parliament of the World’s Religions is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Joanne Shenandoah. Joanne Shenandoah-Tekaliwakwah, died at 9:41 pm at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona on November 22, 2021 in her 64th year.

Joanne was acknowledged as the Matriarch of Indigenous music, acknowledged as the most proficient and creative aboriginal composer and performer of her era. Beginning in 1989 she released 24 award-winning albums ranging in genre from New Age to raw Country. She was an innovator who took the ancestral songs of her Haudenosaunee (Six Nations Iroquois) heritage then blended the melodies and words into contemporary recordings which attracted international praise.

For her stunning creativity marked by unique and powerful vocals, she was given multiple awards ranging from an unprecedented 14 Native American Music Awards (NAMMYS) to the selection as the Independent Native Artists of the year, an International Native Album of the Year from the Canadian Music Awards, multiple Syracuse Area Music Awards (SAMMYS), one Grammy and another two nominations.

Joanne was always available for benefits as she supported many causes from the Parliament of the World’s Religions to local elder care homes. She had planned to participate at the 2021 Parliament of the World’s Religions as a featured luminary.

The Parliament extends our deepest condolences to Joanne’s family, loved ones, colleagues, and her global community. If you are interested in supporting the Shenandoah Family, a Joanne Shenandoah Fund has been established via Go Fund Me.

Land Acknowledgment

The Parliament of the World's Religions acknowledges it is situated on the traditional homelands of the Bodéwadmik (Potawatomi), Hoocąk (Winnebago/Ho’Chunk), Jiwere (Otoe), Nutachi (Missouria), and Baxoje (Iowas); Kiash Matchitiwuk (Menominee); Meshkwahkîha (Meskwaki); Asâkîwaki (Sauk); Myaamiaki (Miami), Waayaahtanwaki (Wea), and Peeyankihšiaki (Piankashaw); Kiikaapoi (Kickapoo); Inoka (Illini Confederacy); Anishinaabeg (Ojibwe), and Odawak (Odawa).

PoWR recognizes the region we now call Chicago remains home to a diversity of Indigenous peoples today and this land upon which we walk, live, and play continues to be Indigenous land.

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