First Nations Singer: Jana Mashonee

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCu3HtydHsk&feature=related[/youtube] This compilation of music and art presents the story of First Nations peoples as presented through the singing of Jana Mashonee. This seems like a good example to present to young students. The blend of current First Nations art and traditional story gives a sense of balance. However, when I googled Jana Mashonee, the first thing that came up was a poster-like representation that definitely had a Pochahontas-feel to it. It certainly has a very commercial feel but the music also seems to present positive messages for First Nations students and she seems to present the image of being a good role-model. This reminds me of the discussion regarding the non-neutrality of the internet. There are always messages delivered on many levels and that understanding them requires sharp critical skills.

8 thoughts on “First Nations Singer: Jana Mashonee

  1. Michael

    Thanks for this on Jana Mashonee. It’s a pity your research took you only as far as a promotional poster since there are 68 google pages on Jana Mashonee. Singer/songwriter, author and philanthropist. Most notably, Miss Mashonee is the founder and to date the sole financial source for Jana’s Kids Foundation, an organization that awards triple A scholarships to Native American children – academic, artistic and athletic. She leaves no child behind, all are eligible whether they get A’s or not. Every year since 2002 I believe, Jana has awarded educational scholarships to Native children and all self funded. She goes to reservations and speaks to the children, motivating them to stay away from drugs, alcohol and gangs. She meets with school children to talk about her book and what it means and reads to them. She sets an example of a proud Native woman. She motivates them that if they have a dream they can go after it. Aside from being a remarkable singer and songwriter, this gorgeous woman has a very big heart.
    From A Fan

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    1. lbonnor Post author

      Hi, I did look at the rest of her site and her work, which I found superb. The music art video presented a moving representation of art and culture. To me, the cartoon did not. When I posted, I was focusing on looking for appropriate videos for children that did not present stereotypes. Thank you for telling me more about Jana Mashonee since this was the first time I’d heard of her. I was certainly impresssed with her music and her work.

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  2. Michael

    btw – generalizing that Jana’s looks has a “Pocahontas feel to it” is pretty offensive…at least to me. So she’s Native, has long dark hair and that makes her Pocahontas? Exactly how? The cartoon version? Where are you getting your Pocahontas reference from? Cause he only image I could find of the real Pocahontas doesn’t look anything like Jana, however, the Disney cartoon portrays a young Native Pocahontas as many would think a young Native woman would look like. Yes, they all wore skins, yes, many have long, dark hair…they didn’t shop at Urban Outfitters or have their hair styled by Sassoon. What would you have preferred? Blond hair and spiked dog collars?

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    1. lbonnor Post author

      Hi, sorry to have offended you about the Jana Mashonee comment but I think I would use most of her website as a wonderful example of First Nations art and media use but I found the front page poster to present the stereotype. I did look at her work with children andthat and her music was inspiring. I think I would have preferred just a picture of her in whatever she chooses to wear and not the Disney poster image to the side. On the rest of the website she presents herself and her art and her philanthopy without such cartoons. I don’t understand that cartoon.

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    2. lbonnor Post author

      Hi again, upon re-reading the post, I certainly did not mean to imply that “Jana’s looks” had a Pochahontas feel to it but that the poster had a stereotypical feel as her own lovely image was juxtapositioned with a cartoon. I find that undermines the significance of her work.

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  3. Michael

    Ha! Interesting…well, if you read the landing page you would know the “cartoon” is a likeness of Jana and it is the cover of her American Indian Story CD. It is also the cover of her book, “American Indian Story – The Adventures of Sha’kona.” The book is an expansion on the story in the concept CD American Indian Story. The book was/is really good…filled with history, some fictional, some fact based as Jana tells it, at least as much as is known about the early lives of Native Americans. The issue I have with the Pocahontas reference is that Jana looks just like that, she’s not imitating a cartoon. It’s an illustration of her! The image reflects the tone and age of the story. It’s not imitating Pocahontas Disney style. It’s her as a historic Native woman. In her video “A Change is Gonna Come” (which is awesome! What a voice!) she’s wearing a buckskin dress, so does this mean she’s imitating Pocahontas?! It’s profiling to assume a Native woman is imitating a cartoon image if she actually looks like that! All that being said, if my posts got you to actually listen to her music and investigate more about this wonderful philanthropist, I’m a happy guy! Thanks.
    A Fan

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  4. Bob Cornish

    Love this video, have for a long time. Having Listened to the Album & having read the book , several times ! and knowing Jana’s music since 2005 when I was first blessed by her face & voice, I can safely say, you will own a treasure when you get the book and or any LOL or all of her albums & the best part is knowing that you also help a young person further their education in doing this. I’ve seen videos of Jana with the kids you can see the pure love she has in her face, so how can anyone loose by this there are few win-win situations in this world. Jana is definitley one of the rare winners 🙂 as for the art work you gotta buy the cd the best is on the inside 🙂 I know! I have them framed they are truly works of Love & Art!

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