Joanne Shenandoah, a prominent Native American musician and recording artist, died Thursday from cancer at the age of 64.
We are deeply saddened by the passing of our friend and respected leader @ejeblu…. Make you proud and bring color through your pain. — iHeartMUSIC (@iHeartMusic) August 10, 2017
Shenandoah’s most popular songs include “I Walked With A Wolf,” a lament on racism and the disproportionate violence against Native Americans, and “Big Seal With Two Noses,” a song dedicated to two Native American ways of life.
The New York-born singer is the namesake of her first studio album, “Joanne.”
Prior to her music career, Shenandoah was a teacher and physical education instructor at Little Black Bear Country School in Seattle.
“Joanne came to Los Angeles in 1971 after her marriage to a man she met in Canada, and had been listening to jazz,” her website says. “She was aware that there were a lot of Native people who hadn’t been able to express themselves in music because they had never been able to afford it.”
Shenandoah began recording demos to eventually bring her music to the world.
Her earliest recorded performance was in 1972 at the Palm Springs Film Festival.
“Some weeks after that I found that my CD had been traded eight times, in three hours,” her website says. “I had never had someone accept a CD on my behalf, but if it was moved, in return, we would have both made a profit.”
Shenandoah spent more than 40 years on the road across the United States.