Canku Ota - A Newsletter Celebrating Native America
August 26, 2000 - Issue 17

Annie Humphrey

"My Indian heritage is part of who I am, so some of it comes out in my music, but I sing about a variety of human conditions. I just want to tell the truth about the world as I see it," says musician Annie Humphrey.

Humphrey was born and raised on an Ojibwe reservation in northern Minnesota where she learned first-hand the struggles of growing up as a minority. Eager to explore a wider world, she left the reservation and joined the United States Marines, traveled the country coast to coast, and was stationed in Japan. She now lives on her Ojibwe homeland, close to nature, with no electricity, no running water, in an A-frame cabin she helped build.

A strong, determined, complex woman, whose life experiences can be heard in her vocals, Humphrey says she doesn't want to serve as a spokesperson for any particular group, yet she doesn't hesitate to use her music to call attention to causes in which she believes. Humphrey does more than just sing, however. She works at local prisons writing newsletters and singing for inmates. She is dedicated to preserving the land and protecting wildlife and natural medicines. Humphrey supports efforts to control logging in the Chippewa National Forest. She also teaches traditional skills (beadwork, wild rice harvesting, maple sugaring) to reservation youth.

Humphrey wrote the music for all of the tunes on the album except "Falling Down and Falling Apart," a song written by Sherman Alexie ("Smoke Signals") and Jim Boyd. Her mother, the noted author Anne Dunn, was the inspiration behind "500 Years." Adrian Liberty, Anne Dunn and Humphrey wrote "See Her," while "I Can See You" is Humphrey's solo composition. Annie's primary writing partner, Carson Gardner, wrote many of the album's lyrics. Gardner, a unique story himself, gave up a lucrative medical practice in order to better serve those in need on the reservation. The CD's title track details Carson's personal conversion, a remarkable story of a great blue heron that visited Gardner and literally changed his life.

Her CD,
The Heron Smiled, is on Makoché (ma-ko-chay), an award winning independent label well known for presenting the best in American Indian-influenced music.

Listen to a clip from "The Heron Smiled" by clicking on the link below:

Annie Humphrey



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