Canadian country music artist Crystal Shawanda has been invited to perform at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., as part of the festivities for the presidential inauguration on Monday.
She’ll join other Canadian aboriginal performers, including pianist Murray Porter and Winnipeg comedian Gerry "the Big Bear" Barrett, at the Native Nations Inaugural Ball, hosted by the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian.
The Native Nations ball will celebrate President Barack Obama’s inauguration with native performers, dancers and aboriginal cuisine, and also raise funds to support new educational programs for the museum.
The National Museum of the American Indian does outreach to correct misperceptions about native history, and affirm the relevance and impact of Native Americans, past and present.
"To Native Americans, music is everything," Shawanda said in an article she posted on her Facebook page.
"It’s our history, our dance, and used to remember important events. I hope that my music on this historic evening will help honour and celebrate the inauguration of the nation’s 44th President," she is quoted as saying.
Shawanda, who was born on the Wikwemikong Native Reservation on Manitoulin Island in Ontario released her first single You Can Let Go in 2008 along with her debut album Dawn of a New Day. She is now based in Nashville.
The singer recently released a song/video in support of the Idle no More movement titled Not Without a Fight.
"This is to raise awareness, on the current situation up in Canada, which has support growing worldwide, because it affects us all, as we all live on the same planet. Hopefully everyone understands that First Nation's are fighting for their rights, which give them a voice to protect Mother Earth," Shawanda posted on her Facebook page.
Juno Award-winning Porter is a Mohawk blues pianist from the Six Nations in Ontario and Barrett is a Winnipeg media personality famous as an Elvis Presley tribute artist.
The ball is one of dozens of unofficial balls that will celebrate Obama's second inauguration.
Four years ago, the president attended 10 different balls. This year, due to financial constraints, he will attend only three official events at the Washington Convention Center.
The Commander in Chief's Ball will feature performances by Alicia Keys, Brad Paisley, Chris Cornell, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Hudson and Marc Anthony.
Obama will also appear at the Inaugural Ball with John Legend, members of the Glee cast, Katy Perry, Smokey Robinson, Soundgarden, Stevie Wonder and Usher slated to perform.