Curtis ‘Shingoose’ Jonnie is a member of the Roseau River Anishinabe First Nation. He was born Curtis Jonnie in 1946 and became widely known as "Shingoose” or ‘Goose’ - a nickname which originated from his great-grandfather.
His music and legacy have made him a trailblazer for Indigenous music and activism in Canada.
His musical ambitions began to take flight while living in the United States during his teenage years – first singing in choirs, and then performing with several and rock/blues-based groups in the 60s and early 70s. During this period, he recorded with legendary engineer Eddie Kramer, and met John Lennon who encouraged him to persevere in the face of discrimination that existed in parts of the music industry. His music eventually went on to gain him a Grammy nomination and other accolades.
Shingoose left his most lasting impression on Canada's music scene when he approached the Juno organizers over the lack of representation at their awards show. Alongside Buffy Sainte-Marie and Elaine Bomberry, he campaigned for the Junos to recognize Indigenous artists within a new category. Their efforts led to the creation of the Best Music of Aboriginal Canada award in 1994. Shingoose also notably co-produced Indian Time, a Gemini-winning variety show that showcased Indigenous talent on television across Canada.
Click here for a text transcription.
Speak Up! is curated by David McLeod (member of the Pine Creek First Nation, MB), Indigenous programming consultant.