By Jacob Cardinal
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Shane Ryan Yellowbird, an award-winning country singer and songwriter from Maskwacis passed away April 26, 2022 at the age of 42.
“Our brother was a talented artist who loved his children, music and sports,” said his family. “We are all deeply struck by the tragedy and ask for the respect and privacy of this time to mourn the loss of our loved one.”
The critically acclaimed artist, who famously used singing as a way to overcome a stuttering problem, had reportedly suffered from epilepsy in his later years.
Yellowbird was the recipient of the rising star award at the 2007 Canadian Country Music Awards. The late country-star also took home three prizes at the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards the same year when he won best male artist, best country album, and album of the year honours for his project: Life Is Calling My Name.
Additionally, Yellowbird sat at the top of the billboards when his song Pickup Truck reached number 1 on the country music charts.
Crystal Shawanda, a friend of Yellowbird, said of his achievements, “What he accomplished is huge. No male Indigenous country music artist has yet to do what he has done.”
“That kind of shows the magnitude of what he accomplished. He was the first one to get through that door,” she said.
“He made the dreams that we dreamed a little bit more possible.”
Yellowbird was born on July 7, 1979 in Maskwacis and was living in Calgary, Alberta at the time of death.
Jacob Cardinal is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the ALBERTA NATIVE NEWS . The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. Turtle Island News does not receive LJI government funding.