Shades of Our Sisters
HONOURING THE LIVES OF MMIWGT2S+, CENTRING THE VOICES OF FAMILIES
Founded by the Cywink and Carpenter Families in 2016, Shades of Our Sisters is an exhibit which includes the stories of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, Trans and Two Spirit People as told by their families.
Named by the families, Shades of Our Sisters originates from an Ojibwe story. Within this teaching, Shades are said to be what is left behind on this earth when a person’s spirit passes to the land of their Ancestors.
The exhibit exists with the purpose of honouring MMIWGT2S+ and giving Families space to celebrate the lives of their loved ones. Shades of Our Sisters is unique in its grassroots approach which centres MMIWGT2S+ Families and puts all storytelling, artistic direction and control into their hands. This exhibit provides space for Families and community members to honour the lives of MMIWGT2S while confronting anti-Indigenous racism and violence.
Our Digital Exhibit
While we normally gather in person for the Shades of Our Sisters Exhibit, we are honoured to work with York University to bring the event online this year. The Gagnon, Carpenter and Cywink Families
invite you to explore their stories below.
Tammy Lynn Lamondin-Gagnon
Tammy was born February 4, 1979 and went missing May 29th 1999 from Newmarket Ontario - she was only twenty years old when she went missing. She had dreams of becoming a marine biologist, held down two jobs and was adored by all who knew her. Tammy is deeply missed by her entire family.
Born in Toronto ON, Patricia had three brothers who she cared for and loved. She was nurturing as well as being a leader, teaching her brothers important lessons about bravery. Patricia’s son, Dakota, was only 6 weeks old when she was killed, but in her 6 weeks with him she dedicated herself to loving Dakota and giving him the best.
Sonya baa Nadine Mae Cywink
Sonya grew up in Birch Island with 11 other siblings. She was thoughtful and a natural leader who put others first. Sonya loved to write and had dreams of becoming a flight attendant. She was a loving sister who shared laughter and warmth with her friends and family.
JACQUELINE & DARREN GAGNON
Jacqueline & Darren Gagnon are members of the Beausoleil First Nation of Christian Island Ontario, Jacqueline was employed with Canada Law Book Inc. for over 15 years in Aurora Ontario. Darren is a certified carpenter for the last 15 years. Both currently live in the Muskoka area close to Georgina Bay.
Joyce Carpenter spent many years working in Indian and Northern Affairs as well as volunteering at Native organizations like NWRC and Council Fire. Now retired, Joyce is currently involved in the Aboriginal community of Toronto, and has become a spokesperson for the MMIWGT2S. She has five sons and seven grandchildren, who she knows would absolutely love their Auntie Trish. Joyce is a member of Alderville First Nation.
Meggie Cywink is Anishinabe Kwe from Whitefish River First Nation. Since 1994, she has been advocating for the voices of MMIWGT2S People’s families. Her hope is that these families will find a way to heal. She has experienced the loss of four family members and has worked tirelessly to honour her sister, Biiskwaa-noodin Kwe baa, by sharing the love and memories she imparted. Sonya baa set the sisterhood bar high. She was intelligent, kind, gentle, and funny. She taught me to love deeply and to forgive often.
SUPPORTS FOR LOVED ONES OF MMIWGT2S+
If you are in need of support, we suggest exploring the list of resources created by Pima’tisowin e’ mimtotaman – Danser pour le vie – We Dance for Life, a kinship-led,
grassroots MMIWGT2S+ initiative.