Remarkable Women: Joanne Shenandoah

Local News

CENTRAL NEW YORK (WSYR-TV) — She grew up to become a Grammy-winning musician and humanitarian, receiving accolades from around the world. She’s played at the White House, the Vatican, shared the stage with top performers and heads of state. All true to the Oneida elder’s vision.

“That I would bring music, that would help to heal music, that would be full of joy, of love and peace, and that’s happened over and over and over again. I get thousands of emails all of the time and I feel really good about that,” Joanne Shenandoah said.

And she’s feeling really good about what’s ahead, with more projects to come.

“Now I’m being contacted by a plethora of companies, who want me to write music, to help be a producer, on shows, regarding the Houdanoshonee life and culture from lacrosse to children’s animations and all kinds of family stuff and I’m so like, yeah, I’ll do it, I’m ready, let’s go,” Shenandoah said.

But five years ago, you would have doubted Shenandoah would be making any plans at all. She was exposed to deadly bacteria called c-diff, which spread throughout her abdomen, damaging her liver and causing near blindness.

“I’ve had six surgeries on my eyes alone, then I’ve probably had 3,000 needles,” she said. “Some people are afraid, right? One doctor did say yeah, it’s very rare Joanne, very rare.”

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