Joanne Shenandoah

Our precious sister Joanne Shenandoah is making her journey home to Sky World.

Our team at Rematriation are honored to have walked alongside Joanne in this lifetime as blood relatives and soul family as Haudenosaunee Sisters.

Joanne was Onʌyota’:aka thahyuní (Oneida Wolf Clan) from the homelands of her people in the Haudenosaunee Confederacy.

An internationally celebrated GRAMMY award winning singer and humanitarian, Shenandoah created 24 music albums and won over 40 music awards.
She captured hearts around the world as an ambassador for peace. Born in the heart of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy (in Syracuse, NY) Joanne was given the ukwehuwé̲ name Takalihwa’kwha, which means, “She Sings”.

The daughter of Onʌyota’:aka Wolf Clanmother Maisie Shenandoah and Onoñda’gegá’ (Onondaga) Pine Tree Chief Clifford Shenandoah, she carried on in their footsteps educating about the ways of peace of the Haudenosaunee people.
After watching a tree bulldozed flat from her windowed office and feeling uprooted, she left her fast paced IT career in Washington DC and followed her calling to become a singer and songwriter.
In 1989 she released her first album titled Joanne Shenandoah and moved home with her daughter Leah Shenandoah. She was introduced to her soon-to-be husband, Douglas George-Kanentiio of the Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk Nation). They celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary this year.


Following the gifts Creator gave Joanne, she performed for noted leaders such as His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela, Huston Smith, Mikhail Gorbachev and for our Indigenous nations across Turtle Island.

She has performed for five presidential inaugurations in the U.S. The White House, the canonization of the first Native American Saint Kateri Tekakwitha at The Vatican, the Parliament of the World’s Religions (Africa, Spain and Australia), Woodstock ‘94; and in venues around the world including Carnegie Hall, Madison Square Garden, Hwa Eom Temple in South Korea and Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain.

Joanne received an Honorary Doctorate of Music from Syracuse University in 2002.
In 2007, she received both a Lifetime Achievement Award from the national Native American Music Awards and entered the Hall of Fame at the Syracuse Area Music Awards.
She was a founding board member of the Hiawatha Institute for Indigenous Knowledge based on Haudenosaunee principles of peace, and she also served as co-chair for the Attorney General’s National Task Force of Indigenous Children Exposed to Violence for the U.S. Department of Justice in 2014.

Our Sister Joanne has inspired so many of our Indigenous relatives across Turtle Island to believe that anything is possible when you follow your dreams.

She honored our people, culture and values with dignity and grace.
Joanne will continue to uplift the spirits of people around our Mother Earth with the beautiful gift of her voice in the musical legacy she has left behind. Her family is requesting contributions to be made to Joanne’s grandson, Kieran Ryder Shenandoah and his future.


Donations can be made here:


We’re honored to share this film that Rematriation Magazine & Media created with Joanne in the summer of 2019.

Click here to watch:
(Note video correction: Chittenango Falls are located in Oneida Territory)

Walk in the light and love that you are Joanne, among the stars with all our ancestors in Sky World. Kunolúhkwa our precious Sister!