The Full Moon Memory Walk – Sharon Johnson

Full Moon Memory Walk

Full Moon Memory WalkTHUNDER BAY – The Full Moon Memory Walk is a sacred memorial walk to honour and remember the missing and murdered Anishinabe & Metis women in Thunder Bay and Northwestern Ontario.

The idea to hold a memorial walk came to light in the spring of 2005 after re-introducing myself to a woman who had been active in raising awareness about the many unsolved cases of missing and murdered Anishinabe women in Thunder Bay and area.

Having lost my own youngest sister tragically to an unsolved murder in February 1992, I was at a point in my life where I felt somewhat stronger to be able to talk about my loss. We began to discuss ideas as to what more we can do to help other family members like myself, to find some strength through all of the pain and turmoil.

We wanted to give other family members the courage to at least walk in memory of their loved ones if not to help them to move on from the grips of such a crippling loss with no closure. We talked about walking during the full moon in September because that was the month my sister was born.

In September of that year, two of us decided to phone and email friends and family to see if they would walk with us on the evening of the full moon. We chose to walk down Simpson Street where violence was more prevalent and targeted against Anishinabe women at the time.

We walked over the Pacific Avenue bridge to the Neebing-McIntyre River floodway where my sister lost her life at the hands of an unknown predator. Our small group of about 35 people who walked in silence that day, formed a circle upon reaching the floodway to remember and honour the missing and murdered women who were dear to us.

My late aunt said a prayer for us while her daughter sang a song with her hand drum. The people in attendance talked about their loved ones and shared their stories and we all placed a tobacco offering in the water for the women and for ourselves. A banner was painted for us which we carried at the front. There was no media coverage of the walk…just us walking quietly remembering the women. 

Now in its ninth year, the Memorial Walk has taken on a life of its own as we continue to walk for our sisters, mothers, aunts, grandmothers, nieces, daughters, granddaughters, friends, children.
Families and friends of the women are coming forward to share their stories, and in turn finding the courage to speak their loved ones names. There are many more families and friends of missing and murdered women that are walking that lonely road of despair and unresolved grief but with this memorial walk, our hearts seem lighter as we comfort one another and we remember the beauty of our women and the joy they brought to our lives.
Although the Memorial Walk is also meant to raise awareness of the many unsolved murders and missing women, it is more of a celebration of their lives.
Sharon Johnson
Indigenous women Elders The Eagle Feathers and Smudge along with tobacco at City Hall - Image taken with permission
The Eagle Feathers and Smudge along with tobacco at City Hall – Image taken with permission

9th Annual FULL MOON MEMORY WALK & Flag Raising Ceremony

Date: Thursday, September 19, 2013
Flag-raising: 4:00 pm
Will proceed to walk following the flag-raising 
Meeting place: City Hall, 500 Donald St. East

Will take the following route: 
From City Hall down May St, turn right onto Victoria Ave, left onto Simpson St, right at the Pacific Ave bridge then proceed east on Pacific Ave up to 110th St where we will turn left until we reach the Neebing-McIntyre Floodway. 

Drum ceremony and feast upon reaching the Neebing-McIntyre Floodway at the end of the walk. 

A sacred memorial walk in support of family and friends – To raise awareness for our vanished mothers, daughters, aunts, grandmothers
To honour the lives of our murdered sisters, nieces, granddaughters, our friends 

Everyone welcome. 
Bring your flags and hand drums, carry your signs and photos of loved ones.

For more info, contact Sharon: (807) 285-8429

Sharon Johnson has worked hard to raise awareness and keep the memories of missing and murdered women alive.
Sharon Johnson has worked hard to raise awareness and keep the memories of missing and murdered women alive.
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