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was born and raised on an Ojibwe Indian 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. When Annie returned home to her Ojibwe homeland,
it was on her own terms. She's now living close to nature, 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
Annie's father taught her how to play the guitar when she was in the first grade.
Two years later she was playing piano (she taught herself) and composing her
songs. "Early on I was inspired musically by my father and lyrically by
mother," she says. Humphrey's mother is the noted author and grandmother
storyteller Anne Dunn. Her published works include "When Beaver Was Very
Great" and "Grandmother's Gift."
While attending the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, she began performing
professionally at coffee houses. "At college I concentrated on art -- painting,
sculpture, and art history." Humphrey recorded her first solo album, the
regionally-distributed Justice Hunter, in 1995. She moved back to the Ojibwe
Reservation and began performing at schools, educational workshops, rallies for
battered women and coffee houses throughout Northern Minnesota. She sang in the
musical "Tribe" at The Ordway Theatre in St. Paul. Her first national
exposure came on the album
The Whispering Tree (released by Makoché), an album of poetry and music
by various artists, featuring Humphrey singing on three tunes.
"My music addresses many of the things I feel strongly about," says
Humphrey. "Love is hard to find and should be cherished. We need to care
for children wherever they are in the world. Alcoholism and abuse are human problems
everywhere. People everywhere need healing. No one should judge another person
by the color of their skin. I consider anyone who walks in a sacred way and honors
the earth to be indigenous to our planet."
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