indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Sovereignty and E-Commerce:  Innovating and Reshaping the  Borders of Indian Country - Arizona State University Third Annual Tribal Government E-Commerce CLE Conference
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:
Indigenous activists reclaim nation's capital in defiance of Trump (4/28)
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe ends appeal in Dakota Access lawsuit (4/28)
Ute Tribe demands 'voice' as Trump orders review of Bears Ears (4/28)
Senate panel takes up bill to bring AMBER Alert funding to tribes (4/28)
Gun Lake Tribe prepares for grand opening of casino expansion (4/28)
Arne Vainio: We lost a fluent Ojibwe speaker in Larry Smallwood (4/28)
Native Sun News Today: Runners from Standing Rock head to Ohio (4/28)
James Giago Davies: People tell me it's better to read about pets (4/28)
Harold Monteau: Supreme Court stirs smelly pot of fish head stew (4/28)
Steven Newcomb: 'Picking Fights' book is a must-read for Natives (4/28)
Whiteclay liquor stores must close temporarily amid court battle (4/28)
Disputed leaders of Nooksack Tribe hit by Supreme Court decision (4/27)
Indigenous activists make presence known for climate march in DC (4/27)
Interior Department announces $5.7M in tribal preservation grants (4/27)
Mark Trahant: Senate candidate cites Standing Rock as 'awakening' (4/27)
Native Sun News Today: Battle over Whiteclay liquor just beginning (4/27)
Ivan Star Comes Out: Why are we still dealing with racism today? (4/27)
Albert Bender: Navajo family still waiting on justice for loved one (4/27)
Whiteclay liquor stores win surprise court ruling on liquor licenses (4/27)
Dakota Access firm faces fines for two spills of drilling fluid in Ohio (4/27)
Gathering of Nations gets ready for annual powwow in new venue (4/27)
Secretary Zinke lacks leadership team more than a month into job (4/27)
Republicans seek to avoid shutdown with temporary spending bill (4/27)
Supreme Court ruling seen as benefit to casino bus crash lawsuit (4/27)
Mashantucket Tribe charges off-duty officer for assault at casino (4/27)
Trump singles out Bears Ears as an 'abuse' of government's power (4/26)
Doug George-Kanentiio: Let's call Columbus by what he truly was (4/26)
Native Sun News Today: Lakota youth set up beekeeping business (4/26)
Cronkite News: Trump seeks to hire thousands of border officers (4/26)
Doug Pibel: New film teaches us about value of indigenous seeds (4/26)
Jenn Weddle: 'Best possible result' from court in sovereignty case (4/26)
Peter d'Errico: Oneida architect offers indigenous approach to law (4/26)
Whiteclay liquor stores aim to stay open pending fight for licenses (4/26)
Support for Standing Rock Sioux Tribe leads to recall in Alaska city (4/26)
Mishewal Wappo Tribe loses appeal in federal recognition lawsuit (4/26)
Police use tear gas & rubber bullets at indigenous protest in Brazil (4/26)
Mohegan Tribe wants gaming disputes resolved in judicial system (4/26)
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.