Sandra Lockhart will always be remembered for her dedication, commitment, care and passion for social justice and human rights. One of the first things that comes to mind when bringing her memory forward is the courage and strength that she demonstrated as she moved through the world. You marvel at the way she had so much to give, even after life had taken so much out of her.
In everything she did, Sandra was guided by the purest and strongest feelings of love. She loved her family – past, present and future. She used the wisdom of the ancestors and elders to guide her through every step of the Red Road she travelled and lived by. She knew that real love is a prayer and an unending promise: a relentless dedication to the soul of your loved ones and to the soul of the planet.
Sandra didn’t just have a strong sense of social justice, she had an unwavering desire to be the change she wanted to see in the world. She gave of her time and energy to a variety of organizations: she sat on the steering committee of the Feminist Alliance for International Action and was a member of the board of directors for the Council of Canadians. She volunteered for agencies that fought to end poverty and family violence and provide services to victims. She was also a founding member of the Circumpolar Institute for Health Research.
Her union activities with the PSAC are almost too lengthy to list but to name a few: she was the Alternate Regional Executive Vice-President PSAC North, a member of the National Indigenous Peoples Circle, Regional Council Vice-President and she represented the union at the Northern Territories Federation of Labour.
Sandra was the recipient of the 2003 Helen Gibson Award. A North West Territories physician, Dr. Gibson created the award to honor his mother who struggled to overcome many obstacles to complete her nursing education. The award is given to Sandra, a graduate from the Aurora College Nursing Program who has overcome similar obstacles and successfully completed the nursing program.
Ten years later, Sandra received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, a commemorative medal served to honor significant contributions and achievements by Canadians. Sandra was presented the award for the work done on behalf of labour and Indigenous organizations.
“I first met Sandra in 2009 when we attended a PSAC UDP (Union Development Program) course together in Iqaluit, Nunavut. Since then we’ve been good friends and have worked together on many campaigns. Her dedication, dogged determination and strength are legend. She’s been an inspiration to many and given of herself in countless ways,” says Jack Bourassa, PSAC North’s REVP. “I for one am a better person for having known her. Her legacy will live on in the work she’s done, and her memory will survive in the hearts of those she’s touched. I haven’t the words to adequately express how I feel about this beautiful soul and can say only… Mahsi Cho Sandra… for everything!”
Sandra would not have wanted us to share this list of accomplishments - that’s the way she was - but we believe her level of commitment and dedication can continue to serve as an inspiration for the next generation of Indigenous women leaders. She will be terribly missed, but never forgotten.