Jesse, Diane, Joanne and Leah Shenandoah at the Fond du Lac reservation on Sunday.

Jesse, Diane, Joanne and Leah Shenandoah at the Fond du Lac reservation on Sunday.

Keith Secola also performed at the band member days concert.

Keith Secola

We spent three days up at the Fond du Lac rez, visiting my good friend and former Pioneer Press colleague, Deb Locke, who now edits the tribal paper there. Deb invited us to her tribe’s band members day to hear our old friend Joanne Shenandoah and her sister and daughter perform at the all-day outdoor concert. Joanne, a Grammy-winning singer who has recorded with Neil Young, Robbie Robertson and Bruce Cockburn, is married to Doug George, a former columnist for the Syracuse newspapers and a founder of the Native American Journalists Association. Doug and I have been hanging out together and causing trouble for going on two decades.

Unfortunately, Jo, Diane and Leah were delayed for nearly two days when their flight into Duluth was cancelled, stranding them in Detroit. When they finally got to town, we had a nice visit at the Black Bear Casino‘s buffet before show time.


Joanne Shenandoah

At the concert, Jesse got a chance to sell CDs at Jo’s “booth”and to visit with everyone backstage. It was a really nice, informal concert. We kept hoping that the weather would cooperate, but it was cold, windy and raining lightly for most of the day.

The rain held off for the first half of Joanne’s show, but really started blowing in when Leah took to the mike to sing one of her own songs. After a brief pause, Jo, Diane and Leah returned to the stage for several more songs.

The Shenandoahs were followed by popular Ojibwe rocker Keith Secola, who led off with his best known song, “NDN Car.” Keith is a perennial presence at the state fair and always puts on a rockin’ show.

After the concert, we said our goodbyes and headed back to the hotel to dry off and warm up in the hot tub.

All in all, a great trip and a nice visit with some old friends. We’ll post a video tomorrow of Jo singing my favorite song (I requested it while we were eating dinner, and Jo did not disappoint).


Jesse hangs out at the Keith Secola concert during a brief break in the rain.