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VIDEO: Joanne Shenandoah Interview

Editor’s Note: Following Joanne Shenandoah’s January 23rd concert at the Lydia Mendelssohn Theater (her UMS debut), members of the audience were treated to an interview with the Iroquois singer and a short performance by a local native women’s musical ensemble.  Meg Noori, Director of the Comprehensive Studies Program (CSP) at the University of Michigan, and a Lecturer in the Native American Studies Program in the Department of American Culture where she teaches Ojibwe and Native Literature, introduces each video below.  To learn more about the Ojibwe language, please visit

Interview with Joanne Shenandoah

Joanna Shenandoah, known in Oneida as Takalihwakwha, explains that her name means “one who sings, one who lifts her voice”.  She talks here about her music and language with U-M Anishinaabe Language teacher, Howard Kimewon. “N’gii psikaagwan / I was moved by it,” says Howard as he explains in Anishinaabemowin how her music affected him.

Miskwaasining Nagamojig / Swamp Singers

“Together we are strong. We must all speak our language. We are living well.” That is the message within this American Indian Movement anthem (The AIM Song) that the Ann Arbor-based Swamp Singers shared with the audience. Originally composed in the 1970s the song remains a symbol of survival for American Indians. Anishinaabe words were added by the Ann Arbor language table in 2005 so that young native people could carry on the message of this song in their language.