Award-winning singer Joanne Shenandoah will perform at the final summer Friends of Ganondagan event, “Meteor Showers, Storytelling and Song,” from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Aug. 11 at the Seneca Art and Culture Center, 7000 County Road 41, Victor.
Shenandoah will take center stage in a presentation based on her 2018 audio recording, “A Narrative of the Life of Mrs. Mary Jemison,” based on the true, first-person account.
Mary Jemison was captured at age 12 when her family was killed by a Shawnee war party in 1755. She was adopted by two Seneca women, and lived out her life as a Seneca. Peter Jemison, manager of Ganondagan State Historic Site, is her direct, eighth-generation descendant.
“This audio book serves an important purpose in helping to share Mary Jemison’s compelling story,” Peter Jemison said. “Her life was filled with tragic events that might have destroyed her, and yet she persevered. She was embraced by the Seneca, and felt she belonged with them. I have reread her story numerous times to glimpse the life my people enjoyed before the Revolutionary War.”
The event features the sale and signing of the CD audiobook, sky and star storytelling by Ganondagan site interpreters and star watching outside of the Bark Longhouse — to coincide with the Perseid meteor showers that night.
As narrator and co-author with Rebekah Presson Mosby of this audio recording, Shenandoah also provides original music reflecting the adventures during both war and peace in Mary Jemison’s life. Named Digewamis by her Seneca family, but known as The White Woman by all, Mary Jemison’s is one of the great stories in American history. She eventually became a wealthy woman who possessed thousands of acres of land in western New York state.
Shenandoah, a Grammy winner and internationally known composer, has more than 40 music awards and 22 recordings. Her music ranges from solo to full symphony orchestra. She is a humanitarian, as well as a peace and earth justice advocate. Her ancestor, Chief Shenandoah, likely would have known Mary Jemison.
Admission is donation-based. Visit ganondagan.org for information.