Joan Henry is both hahesh’kah (lead drummer) and dekanogisgi (traditional song-carrier), and a Native Women’s Traditional dancer. Encouraged by her elders, she founded the acclaimed traditional drum group Mothers of Nations Singers & Dancers (later known as Sky Woman Singers) – the first women’s drum ever invited to the National Native American Veterans Powwow in Washington DC and the first to preside at Indigenous Peoples’ Day Opening Ceremonies for the United Nations – where Ms. Henry has since presented on healing & spirituality among First Nations women and offered opening prayers & song for the International Day of Peace and the World Indigenous Forum.
Vocalist, actress, dancer, composer, poet-lyricist, percussionist and choreographer Joan Henry is a versatile performer connected to the living earth. When not traveling to perform solo or with family and friends bringing life to Noyeh-Ongeh, Mother Earth, a Native /jazz/fusion band that goes beyond the ordinary concert, Ms Henry teaches, presents and consults at schools, universities and museums from Wellesley & Vassar Colleges to the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian in New York City; works with women & youth in Indigenous communities in the US & Canada and directs empowerment and arts-in-healing programs in upstate New York. Joan Henry and her family make their home on Spruceton Mountain in the Northern Catskills, where they welcome this season’s Thunders. It is her prayer that she honors Tsimilano & Qwat’xwu’maat of Musqueam, Shanadii of Jicarilla, her own Grandmas Kathleen Elicia & Valentine Mabel, and the many other elders who have guided her, by continuing ”to sing our world new every morning – and sing it to sleep each night.”