Honoring Native American Month: Joanne Shenandoah Tribute Concert to Chief Skenandoa

In honor of Native American Month and her ancestor Chief Skenandoa, singer, composer and guitarist Joanne Shenandoah will perform at 7 p.m. Nov. 24 at Madison Hall in Morrisville to benefit the Gerrit Smith Estate National Historic Landmark in Peterboro.

(Morrisville, NY – Nov. 2012) In honor of Native American Month and her ancestor Chief Skenandoa, singer, composer and guitarist Joanne Shenandoah will perform at 7 p.m. Saturday Nov. 24 at Madison Hall in Morrisville to benefit the Gerrit Smith Estate National Historic Landmark in Peterboro.

This is not the first time that a Shenandoah family member has befriended Peterboro. In the late 1700s it was the friendship of Chief (John) Skenandoa and Peter Smith (Peterboro, Town of Smithfield) that led to Smith’s land wealth, which eventually supported the philanthropy of Peter’s son Gerrit Smith, abolitionist and reformer.

The friendship of the Skenandoa and Smith families was so close that Smith named his first son Peter Skenandoah, and son Gerrit was a pall bearer at the great chief’s funeral.

During the evening Norman K. Dann Ph.D, researcher and author on Gerrit Smith, will provide brief pieces on the historical connections of Shenandoah’s family to the Gerrit Smith Estate.

Joanne Shenandoah is the daughter of the late Maisie Shenandoah, Wolf Clanmother of the Oneida Nation, and the late Clifford Shenandoah, an Onondaga Nation chief. She is the descendent of Chief John Skenandoa. A compatriot of George Washington, Skenandoa played a key role in rallying some Iroquois to support the rebels during the American Revolution. John Skenandoa was the co-founder of the Hamilton-Oneida Academy which later became Hamilton College.

Joanne Shenandoah is a member of the Wolf Clan of the Oneida Nation, of the Haudenosaunee Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy. Her music is a combination of traditional songs and melodies with a blend of traditional and contemporary instrumentation. She has recorded more than 15 albums, and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Music by Syracuse University. She has won a Grammy Award, numerous Syracuse Area Music Awards (SAMMYS) and the Native American Music Award a record number of times – including a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Shenandoah has performed on five continents. Concerts in the USA include the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, the White House, Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and presidential inaugurations.

Shenandoah wrote a symphony called Skywoman which premiered with the Syracuse Symphony in 2002. She was featured in the documentary Dancing on Mother Earth (PBS 2003), starred in the feature film The Last Winter (2007), and played the role of Jikonsasay in the Discovery Channel’s First Nations: The Iroquois.

In 1990 President George H. W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating November 1990 “National American Indian Heritage Month.” Since 1994 proclamations recognizing November as the observance month have been issued with variations on the name.

The historic site of Madison Hall was the location of the original Madison County Courthouse. Situated at 100 East Main Street, the landmark has become a resource for community events. The Madison Hall Association will serve refreshments at the concert to support renovations.

For more information and advanced tickets at $7 contact 315-280-8828, info@gerritsmith.org, and online until Nov. 23 at mercantile.gerritsmith.org.  Admission at the door will be $10.

 

 

 

 

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