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“Shades of Our Sisters” Exhibition

Date posted: July 8, 2017
“Shades of Our Sisters” Exhibition

What started as a 20-minute documentary for a class assignment, now turned into an amazing multimedia exhibition celebrating the lives of Patricia Carpenter and Sonya Cywink.

There are over 1,200 Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, Transgendered and Two Spirit people in Canada, and many of their police investigations have been labeled as inconclusive and unsolved. These women were sisters, mothers, daughters, and friends within their communities and across our nation, and they cannot be forgotten. The healing process of these families is long, painful, frustrating, and often unending. We as Canadians need to come together to end this ongoing issue, and create a future where no family will go through the pain that many are currently enduring.

Named by the families of Sonya Cywink and Patricia Carpenter, Shades of Our Sisters originates from an old 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.

Shades of Our Sisters is an Indigenous-student collaboration which aims to honour the lives of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, Transgendered and Two Spirit peoples by celebrating the love and memories which they have left with us. In an attempt to bring
a compassionate approach to how these stories are told, the project focuses on how these women lived and how they are loved. The families of Sonya Cywink and Patricia Carpenter are the producers of the project and Upwind Productions is honoured to work with them to tell their stories. Shades of Our Sisters is an exhibition which celebrates the spirit and memories of Sonya Cywink and Patricia Carpenter through artifacts from their lives, short documentary pieces and soundscapes. This project humanizes two of the +1,200 MMIWGT2S in an extremely intimate manner, creating an educational violence prevention experience which will last with those who attend. Our hope is that the stories of Sonya and Patricia will encourage young people to recognize how they can work to prevent violence from happening in their own lives and their communities at large.

The team wants those who attend to become an active part of reconciliation in ways that extend beyond the passive consumption of short form media. The goal is to take an innovative approach at how students and Indigenous communities can collaborate to tell important stories through new media.

Youth Engaging Youth will be reaching out to various organizations within the Ukrainian community of Toronto to participate and contribute to this project. How? Through individual feathers. On each feather you will be asked to write your name, where you are from and answer one of the given questions:

1) In one word, what is something that makes a woman in your life special?

2) What is something that a woman in your life has taught you?

3) Describe the importance of love within communities.

4) How can you promote non-violence in your community?

5) What does being a compassionate person mean?


We encourage drawing, painting, etc, on the feathers. Be as creative as you would like!

How can you get one of these feathers? Email with a request to join this project and she will send you the proper shape. Once you have finished working on your feather – send it back to the following address:


Laura Heidenheim, 285 Bain Ave, M4J 1B9 Toronto ON, Canada

and then join us anytime between 9:00AM and 8:00PM on July 22nd at the St. Vladimir Institute (620 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5S 2H4). Your feather will be included in the Feathers for Our Women Mobile placed by the entrance of the exhibition.


Learn more about Shades of Our Sisters by following the project on:

  • The website –
  • Facebook –
  • Twitter –
  • Instagram –


If you have any questions or concerns do not hesitate to contact us:

Shades of Our Sisters project team –

Youth Engaging Youth Ontario Coordinator –


Information taken from Feather for Our Women Guide

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