Joanne Shenandoah: What is the Meaning of Life?

JoanneShenandoahPic 2 (1)We are placed here on this is earth by a divine Creator given certain gifts and talents to do our best to live in balance with others and the natural world, our earth mother.

We are the caretakers of the earth and have a duty and responsibility to care and be mindful for the waters, the fish, the plants, the medicines herbs, the animals, the trees, the birds, the four winds, the thunders, the sun, grandmother moon, the stars, the enlightened, our teachers and the Creator.

I’ve been blessed with the gift of music. As Iroquois we believe all elements of the earth have a spirit and a song.

Many people on our earth have used a “Good Mind” in order to facilitate change, end wars, quell violence, create gardens and reverse damage done to our mother earth. These caring individuals make a better world for those who come after us. Our Peacemaker brought us a message of peace by using earth elements to prove his point: the great white pine tree, an Eagle and four white roots which cover our weapons of war. It is said that one day all will hear the story of forgiveness and the world’s oldest constitutionally based united nations. It was the Iroquois who inspired the first Europeans who came to this country and taught them the importance of freedom, democracy, women’s rights, justice systems, agriculture and living in balance with mother nature.

There should be balance and respect in our experiences in life, some of which makes your heart soar or can allow us to have our heart on the ground. It is through rituals and celebratory ceremonies which honor all these earth elements and one another and through this we are aware of all every living entity which surrounds us.

How we treat the earth is how we treat one another and thereby leave a lasting effect on future generations (those yet unborn). We are given all we need on Mother Earth to live in harmony and balance with one another and the Natural world. In this time of great and historical changes we must all embrace these most fundamental of instructions, and not live in fear but in celebration of Life.


~Joanne Shenandoah, Ph.D, is one of America’s most celebrated and critically acclaimed musicians. She is a Grammy Award winner, with over 40 music awards (including a record 14 Native American Music awards) and 17 recordings. Joanne is a member of the Wolf Clan; the Oneida Nation is part of the Haudenosaunee  — The Iroquois.

Copyright © 2015 Excellence Reporter

Categories: Awakening, Indigenous, Music, Nature

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