Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagicAs a child, The Band‘s Robbie Robertson would often visit family at the Six Nations of the Grand River reserve outside of Toronto, where his mother was born and raised. Saturday, the 74-year-old Rock & Roll Hall of Famer was honored by the reserve with its first-ever lifetime achievement award for his work with The Band, as a solo artist, and as a film composer, BrantNews.com reports.

At a ceremony held at Six Nations’ recently opened convention center, The Gathering Place, Robertson said receiving the honor gave him a chance to pay tribute to his late mother. He also pointed out that the community was where he developed his passion for music, by observing his relatives playing instruments and singing together in what he described as a family music club.

“I said to myself, ‘I’ve got to get in,'” Robertson recalled at the ceremony. He also credited an uncle and a cousin with helping him learn to play guitar.

“That was the genesis of my whole music career,” Robertson maintained. “They started it and I didn’t want it to stop.”

Robbie also said he became captivated at an early age by his the Native American tradition of storytelling, which he later would incorporate into the way he wrote songs. “When I was young I told my mother I wanted to be a storyteller,” he noted, “and like most mothers she just looked at me, smiled and said, ‘Oh, I know you will be.'”

Robertson also was welcomed as an official member of the Six Nations during his visit.

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