your internet resource on facebook on twitter on Google+ on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Health Coverage for American Indians and Alaska Natives
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:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: Tribal member speaks out against fracking (11/27)
Lakota Country Times: Rosebud mothers address meth issues (11/27)
Tim Giago: Walk a mile in the moccasins of Native Americans (11/27)
Vince Two Eagles: Focus on being thankful this holiday season (11/27)
Native Sun News: Keystone fighters celebrate permit's defeat (11/27)
Kevin Leecy: Tribes remain a vital segment of our community (11/27)
Steven Newcomb: Even media treats our nations as 'nothing' (11/27)
Ray Cook: Thanksgiving flies in the face of original Americans (11/27)
Terese Mailhot: Racism prevails in American popular culture (11/27)
Ilya Somin: Persistent 'myth' justified taking of Indian lands (11/27)
Ak-Chin Indian Community sued for same-sex marriage ban (11/27)
Cahuilla Band celebrates new travel center at gaming facility (11/27)
Opinion: Don't break promise to Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe (11/27)
Native Sun News: Family questions FBI on reservation death (11/25)
Lakota Country Times: Rosebud students earn top scholarship (11/25)
Brandon Ecoffey: Making a difference for people on Pine Ridge (11/25)
Yurok Tribe: Mourning the passing of 'visionary' Troy Fletcher (11/25)
Ned Blackhawk: Supreme Court case jeopardizes tribal rights (11/25)
Steve Russell: The real origins of the world's terrorism crisis (11/25)
Ramona Peters: Sharing a Wampanoag story of Thanksgiving (11/25)
Yatibaey Evans: Let's all teach the truth about Native history (11/25)
Martie Simmons: Every Native parent dreads this time of year (11/25)
Eric Metaxas: The 'miracle' of Squanto and first Thanksgiving (11/25)
Presidential Medal of Freedom presented to late Billy Frank Jr (11/25)
Oneida Nation opens first branch location of tribal-owned bank (11/25)
Virginia tribes continue to pay tribute required by 1677 treaty (11/25)
Chukchansi Tribe reaches new agreement for shuttered casino (11/25)
Poarch Band to welcome visitors to $65M expansion at casino (11/25)
Stillaguamish Tribe debuts eatery and microbrewery at casino (11/25)
Connecticut tribes consider proposals for third gaming facilty (11/25)
Mark Pilarski: Why are games different at some tribal casinos? (11/25)
Tribes seek support for Native language instruction programs (11/24)
Rep. Mullin confirms divisions in Indian Country on Carcieri fix (11/24)
President Obama to award Medal of Freedom to Billy Frank Jr. (11/24)
Sault Tribe pushes for passage of Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act (11/24)
Lakota Country Times: Charles Trimble recognized for writings (11/24)
Native Sun News Editorial: Some new names in Indian Country (11/24)
Jim Kent: South Dakota lands in the news again for corruption (11/24)
John Yellowbird Steele: Bill tries to hijack recognition process (11/24)
Albert Bender: 'The Green Inferno' hits new low in racist films (11/24)
Peter d'Errico: Anti-Indian wars continue in US Supreme Court (11/24)
Anne Keala Kelly: US government wants to steal Hawaii again (11/24)
Counties ask Supreme Court to hear Ute Tribe boundary case (11/24)
Shinnecock Nation considers entering medical marijuana field (11/24)
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.