Honorary Members


Dr. Mary Young Photo

AERF 2018 Honorary Member

The Late Dr. Sherry Lynn (Ward) Peden

Program Planning Co-Chair

Our beloved Sherry Peden was a member and Co-Chair of the Shawane Dagosiwin Planning Committee. With the impeding retirement of the Planning Chair, Dr. Laara Fitznor, Sherry was being mentored in the position for Program Chair. Sherry was a valued member of the Planning Committee bringing her expertise as an educator from both rural and northern perspectives in the field of education. Sherry, along with one of her mentors and beloved friend, Dr. Verna Kirkness were the Keynotes for Shawane Dagosiwin in 2014, “Research Imprints from Our Decade of Sharing ‘Shawane Dagosiwin’: Visions for Our Future”.

Sadly for us leaving this physical world, Sherry passed on January 8, 2018 to the spirit world peacefully on her ancestral land on the south side of Duck Mountain near Grandview and Tootinaowziibiing First Nation. Sherry was born in Kenora, Ontario and was raised on Treaty 4 land farmed by her grandfather and subsequently by her father. Sherry attended the Wicklow School a mile and half away from the family farm. This was the beginning of what would prove to be a lifetime in the field of education. After attending high school in Grandview, she obtained a Bachelor of Education from Brandon University and began teaching elementary school at Cormorant at the age of 21. She went on to teach middle year and high school students at Norway House, working for both Frontier School Division and Norway House Cree Nation schools. In Norway House, she would become the Centre Co-ordinator for the Brandon University Northern Teacher Education Program (BUNTEP). She would go on to become the BUNTEP Centre Co-ordinator at Dauphin, complete a Master’s degree in Education, and become a professor at Brandon University. In 2011, Sherry completed a PhD in Educational Administration at the University of Manitoba. After completing her PhD in 2011 Sherry became the Academic Vice President at the University College of the North in The Pas in 2013, a position that she held until her retirement in 2015.

The amendment of the Indian Act in 1985 reinstated Sherry’s mother to Indian status and consequently admitted Sherry and her siblings to Indian status. In her work as a teacher, one of her great motivations was to be a positive role model for Aboriginal youth. She undertook to combat systemic racism in the educational system and institutions, and even after being diagnosed with cancer in April of 2017, she continued to work as a consultant in the field of Aboriginal education. One of the many accomplishments of Sherry’s career was the creation of the Onikaniwak summer institute for providing First Nation, Inuit and Metis teachings for senior educational administrators. Sherry’s vision was for the work of Onikaniwak to continue as part of Sherry’s legacy.

Despite her education, Sherry remained at heart a woman of the land. She will be remembered for her gardens and love of nature. She was adept at filleting fish and processing game as well as canning garden produce and wild fruit, and was a talented seamstress.  She and husband Leo were avid travellers and visited several countries in Europe and Asia, as well as Australia and New Zealand. She was particularly fond of what she called “hot holidays” in Mexico and Cuba.

We miss your passion, generosity and commitment to Aboriginal education, Sherry.