The life of Full Moon Memory Walk co-founder Lynne Sharman was honoured during a special dance at the Lakehead University Native Student Association’s Annual Powwow.
“I knew we had to honour Lynne at this powwow because she was a big part of the powwow circle going back for a lot of years,” said Sharon Johnson, who co-founded the Full Moon Memory Walk with Sharman. “She followed the Anishinabe way for so long, as far as I can remember. Even before I met her, I used to see her dancing around with her eyes closed and her pouch of tobacco in her hand.”
Sharman passed away on March 14. She was born in 1947 and moved to Thunder Bay in 1987 to continue her cultural work with the Anishinabe after helping found the Native Indian/Inuit Photographers Association in Toronto.
She was nominated for the June Callwood Outstanding Achievement Award for Voluntarism for a lifetime of volunteer work, including helping create the Definitely Superior Art Gallery, organizing two conferences for Second World War Native veterans and three conferences for child abuse survivors, and compiling 23 Gladue reports for Anishinabe and Cree women imprisoned in Thunder Bay.
“As an advocate for Anishinabe women and children and men, she did all kinds of work for so many years and for so many people,” Johnson said. “I’m just really honored that I got to meet her and that I got to work with her and to start the Full Moon Memory Walk with her as the co-founder.”
Johnson recalled many meetings with Sharman in her downtown Fort William apartment.
“All I’m thinking about right now is all those times we sat together in her apartment,” Johnson said. “They’d be a bunch of us women, sometimes guys, and we’d sit there and talk. It was more like a gathering for us to get together and help each other out. At the same time we would be taking notes and doing the business part of it, but we would leave from there just ready to kick butt.”
Johnson said Sharman was a “really humble lady.”
“She never wanted to be mentioned that she was doing work but she mostly worked behind the scenes,” Johnson said. “She pushed me out there and made me do things. So I’m just really glad that we got to do the song for her.”
About 300 dancers and 21 drums attended the powwow, which was held from March 14-16 at the Lakehead University Field House in Thunder Bay. A traditional feast was held on March 15.
Pic River’s Nathan Moses was the emcee, Pic River’s Todd Genno was the arena director, Lac La Croix’s Kalvin Ottertail was the spiritual advisor and Naotkamegwanning’s Whitefish Bay Singers was the host drum.
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