indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439
Native American Bank - Native people investing in Native communities
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Doug George-Kanentiio: Pete Seeger, Friend of the Iroquois

Filed Under: Arts & Entertainment | National
More on: doug george-kanentiio, joanne shenanodah, mohawk, music, new york, obituaries, pete seeger
   


The late Pete Seeger with Joanne Shenanodah at Madison Square Garden in New York City. May 3, 2009. Photo from Thomas Donley

The world knew Pete Seeger, who died on January 27, as a human rights activist, a defender of the earth, an advocate for universal peace and one of the most prolific and creative musicians in American history. He was the composer of songs which have now become folk music standards: 'Where Have All the Flowers Gone", "Turn, Turn, Turn", "If I Had a Hammer", "Good Night Irene" and the civil rights protest ballad "We Shall Overcome."

From his youth he demonstrated compassion for the oppressed, traveling across the country with his five string banjo hitchhiking on backcountry roads or riding the rails. He visited mining camps and sang to labor unions. When he was condemned as a communist by the US federal government and blacklisted by the mainstream entertainment industry he went to the schools and secured a living performing at colleges and whenever an event called for a musician to rally the people.

He was a primary influence on Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Bruce Springsteen and thousands of others. He was a friend to Native people, making sure indigenous performers had a national stage to show their abilities. His Clearwater Festival attracted tens of thousands to the shore of the Hudson River, a waterway which was notoriously polluted until Seeger launched his movement to clean it of contaminants a generation ago. His sloop "The Clearwater" educated thousands of children on their environmental responsibilities by giving them a direct connection with the river.

Seeger cited the Mohawk teacher Ray Fadden-Tehanetorens as the man who turned his attention to the natural world. Ostracized by most other musicians during the 1950's Seeger found his way into the northern Adirondacks where he met Fadden. He was educated about Iroquois history and philosophy during sessions which included Fadden teaching Seeger a canoe paddling song. It was that song which Seeger performed in June, 2013 at the Clearwater Festival, one of his last public performances.

Seeger also encouraged Oneida Nation musician Joanne Shenandoah. She was one of his favorite artists. He shared the stage with her on many occasions including a remarkable set with the late Odetta ten years ago and in 2012 when he, Shenandoah and Patti Smith sang at Cooper Union Hall in New York City for a human rights event.

When asked last year as to which performance he wanted to attend he elected to hear Joanne Shenandoah, standing on the side of the stage for her entire hour long set.

Seeger was also ready to stand with the Iroquois on many issues. He did fundraisers for many Native groups. In 1988 he joined the late Floyd Red Crow Westerman to raise support for Akwesasne Notes at a concert in Albany, NY and last year lent his efforts to encourage the Two Row Wampum campaign.

Seeger's wife of 70 years, Toshi Seeger, died last July. Surviving the couple are their children: Daniel, Tinya and Mika along with his sisters Peggy and Barbara. He leaves eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Doug George-Kanentiio, Akwesasne Mohawk, is the vice-president of the Hiawatha Institute for Indigenous Knowledge. A former member of the Board of Trustees for the National Museum of the American Indian he resides in Oneida territory with his wife Joanne Shenandoah.


Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:

Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Elizabeth Cook-Lynn: Indian children exploited for fundraisers (11/28)
Ned Blackhawk: Remember the Sand Creek Massacre of 1864 (11/28)
Steven Newcomb: Leadership and the liberation of our nations (11/28)
Dina Gilio-Whitaker: Native Hawaiians working for sovereignty (11/28)
Native women ask city in New York to find new name for park (11/28)
African-American lawmakers seek probe into Pamunkey Tribe (11/28)
Wyandotte Nation to debut part of $30M expansion at casino (11/28)
Mashantucket Tribe seeks to expand sale of alcohol at casino (11/28)
Mohegan Tribe still pushing for commercial casino in New York (11/28)
Native Sun News: Urban Indian organization seeks new center (11/26)
Tentative schedule for White House Tribal Nations Conference (11/26)
White House invites youth to DC for Tribal Nations Conference (11/26)
Leslie Wheelock: Touting nation-to-nation trading and tourism (11/26)
Kevin Abourezk: A mystery of Indian agents with same name (11/26)
Michael Allen: My ancestor took part in Sand Creek Massacre (11/26)
Dean Suagee: EPA's Clean Power Plan affects Indian Country (11/26)
Mark Rogers: Finding something to be thankful for this holiday (11/26)
Former convicted leader of Crow Tribe seeks to clear his name (11/26)
Blackfeet Nation denies political motive in arrest of ex-leader (11/26)
Appeal set in dispute over Navajo Nation presidential hopeful (11/26)
Judge allows NFL team lawsuit against young Native activists (11/26)
NPR: Alaska Natives put traditional spin on Thanksgiving meal (11/26)
Column: Group helps rescue dogs from Pine Ridge Reservation (11/26)
First Nation offers reward for information about missing man (11/26)
First Nations face loss of funds over failure to submit salaries (11/26)
Santa Ysabel Band responds to state lawsuit over online bingo (11/26)
Citizen Potawatomi Nation to meet over liquor sales at casino (11/26)
Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe could lose casino's liquor license (11/26)
Mashantucket Tribe looks to shift revenues away from gaming (11/26)
Agua Caliente Band selects planner to revamp land near casino (11/26)
Washington gaming panel cuts jobs as non-Indian revenue falls (11/26)
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux Tribe to issue IDs at tournament (11/25)
James Giago Davies: Polygamy and shunning in Lakota culture (11/25)
Ben Shelly: There's a lot to be thankful for on the Navajo Nation (11/25)
Cara Cowan Watts: Share the blessings of the Cherokee Nation (11/25)
Joe Sexton: BIA's 'ugly' land policies stuck in the 19th century (11/25)
Jenny Durkan: Cop who killed Native man wasn't charged either (11/25)
Oklahoma claims Citizen Potawatomi Nation must collect taxes (11/25)
Divided court won't extend Seneca Nation immunity to business (11/25)
Vice: North Dakota tribe sees $25M a month in energy royalties (11/25)
Members of Lumbee Tribe proud to carry on tradition of service (11/25)
Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe donates $10K to local food pantry (11/25)
Slate: Non-Indians were encouraged to move to tribal territory (11/25)
Column: Remains of Dakota man hanged in 1862 kept in home (11/25)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.