It is with the deepest sadness and an overwhelming sense of loss that the board of NAIITS, together with the rest of the Indigenous Learning Community who knew and loved her, announce the passing from this life into the next of our dear sister, friend, and colleague in Indigenous life and education, Wendy Lynn Beauchemin Peterson. Wendy left us September 28th while celebrating friendship and birthdays with a number of friends in Paris, France. Her death, while sudden to all of us, will have come as no surprise to the one who formed her at the beginning of the world, instilling in her all the raw materials that would become the person we all knew and loved. She has now been welcomed by her creator into the next steps of life's journey beyond this world.
While we are all devastated, and in our own ways, according to our own relationship with Wendy, will experience her loss in the days to come, the deepest loss will lie with Ed, Melanie, Chad, Cory, their spouses and Wendy’s many grandchildren. As we have already begun to do, and invite you to do also, we continue to pray for all of the immediate and extended family in this time of separation and loss.
Wendy was not only a founder of NAIITS’, but a continuous member of NAIITS board of directors up until her passing. She was so very central to NAIITS’ formation that she has been referred to on many occasions as NAIITS’ mother. From NAIITS’ inception, Wendy was also its journal editor, devoting her time to its continued improvement and ultimately overseeing its welcome into the indexed volumes of the American Theological Libraries Association (ATLA).
Wendy survived a bout with cancer, to finish writing her Ph.D. dissertation, and successfully defend A Gifting of Sweetgrass: The Reclamation of Culture Movement and NAIITS: An Indigenous Learning Community this past May. She was hooded as Dr. Wendy Lynn Beauchemin Peterson on June 7, 2018 in the company of the NAIITS community to which she had devoted so much energy and passion over the years.
Wendy’s heart for people was obvious to all who met her. She was a combination of deep compassion, boldness in speech (wrapped in her inimitable humour), accompanied by actions that consistently named discrimination wherever she saw it. She was passionate about justice for all people but especially for Indigenous peoples at home and around the globe. As a Red River Métis woman, she was a role model to all who met her and came to know her, but she was especially concerned for the nurture and development of Indigenous women, of all ages.
Journey well our dear sister, aunt, and friend into the life that lies beyond this one; into the place where he who made you has waited for your return and now welcomes you into his warm and strong embrace. We will deeply miss you!
The family has asked that in lieu of other gifts, donations be made to Indigenous Pathways. To Donate Click Here.