Curtis was adopted out of his family home at age four by a Mennonite family in Manitoba. He was soon exciting listeners with his singing. A long career followed that would take Curtis Jonnie across the continent while meeting some of the greatest talent in the musical world.
After playing in rock bands in Washington, D.C. and New York Curtis returned to Winnipeg in 1973, at a time of great unrest for Indians in North America. Inspired by the American Indian Movement, he adopted his great-grandfather’s name, ‘Shingoose,’ and began performing across Canada as a singer-songwriter. “For 100 years our people had been silent -- now it was time to speak.”
Curtis served on numerous committees and boards including the Manitoba Audio Recording Industry Association and as acting chair of the Best Music of Aboriginal Canada Committee for the Juno Awards. In recognition of his determined effort to bring native talent to the public, Curtis was inducted into the Manitoba Aboriginal Music Hall of Fame in 2012.
That same year, a stroke paralyzed Curtis’ left side. This setback has not affected his passion for music. “I wake up every morning -- excited about my work. At this stage in my life, I call it, ‘Living in a nuclear world.’ What I tried to say at each point in my life, I said through my music and songs. I still do.”
Curtis 'Shingoose' Jonnie