‘Shades of Our Sisters’ exhibit honours and celebrates lives of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women


On March 8, the Centre for Sexual Violence Response, Support & Education and Centre for Aboriginal Student Services (CASS) at York University are co-hosting the Shades of Our Sisters Digital Exhibit Opening and Film Screening to bring awareness to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, Transgendered and Two Spirit People (MMIWGT2S) and in commemoration of International Women’s Day.

The online event takes place from 12 to 1:30 p.m. and will bring together members of the Carpenter, Cywink and Gagnon families to open Shades of Our Sisters, an exhibit and online experience that celebrates the lives of Patricia Carpenter, Sonya baa Nadine Mae Cywink and Tammy Lynn Lamondin-Gagnon. The exhibit was co-created by the families to share the memory of their loved ones and what the loss of their life means, and provides space for families and community members to honour the lives of MMIWGT2S while confronting anti-Indigenous racism and violence.

The exhibit provides an opportunity for community members to know these young Indigenous women who were tragically taken through personal artifacts from their lives, stories and memories shared by loved ones, photos, short video and audio pieces and three documentary films. Audiences are transported into the grief, laughter and love of these families; challenging Canadians to realize the injustice of this national tragedy.

The exhibit came to York University’s Keele Campus last year, and will be offered digitally this year due to the pandemic. Hosted and moderated by Indigenous Recruitment Officer Breanna Berry, the opening event and film screening will begin with a prayer and remarks by Amy Desjarlais, the Knowledge Keeper at CASS. Maggie Cywink (Sonya’s sister), Joyce Carpenter (Patricia’s mother) and Jacquelyn Gagnon (Tammy’s mother) will deliver remarks before screening three documentaries created by the families. The event will end with closing remarks from each family member.

Members of the York community are encouraged to attend this event and can register here.

To learn more, visit the Shades of Our Sisters website.

The Carpenter, Cywink and Gagnon families highlight that the investigations into the murders of their loved ones remain open and anyone with information is urged to come forward.

Tammy Lynn Lamondin-Gagnon’s Homicide Case is an ongoing investigation handled by York Region Police Homicide Missing Persons Bureau, Cold Case Division of Aurora Ontario (case file # 1999 – 60809). Please contact Homicide Missing Persons at 1-866-876-5423 ext. 6895 with any tips or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 with anonymous tips to help bring her family closure.

Investigators urge any person with information regarding the person(s) responsible for the death of Sonya baa Nadine Mae Cywink to immediately contact the Director of Criminal Investigation Services, Ontario Provincial Police at 1-888-310-1122 or (705) 329-6111, or through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222- 8477 (TIPS). The public can also go to the nearest police authority.

Patricia Carpenter’s Case remains open with the Toronto Police. To report a crime please call 416-808-2222, anonymously with Crime Stoppers at 416-222-TIPS (8477), or file a report online.