New art pays tribute to MMIWG2S+ in Sudbury

It was an emotional moment outside the N'Swakamok Friendship Centre on Thursday afternoon as people gathered to see the unveiling of an important piece of art.

On the day set aside to remember missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and two-spirited people, the large metal red dress is now attached to the centre's building for all to see.

In the middle are the words 'No More Stolen Sisters.'

"It's so awesome," said Atikameksheng councillor Jennifer Petahtegoose, who doubles as a teacher with the Sudbury Catholic School Board.

Petahtegoose brought her class for the event.

"It means so much to be here with our families, girls and gender diverse people," she said.

"This is such a beautiful tribute to our women -- it's a beautiful commemoration."

The day was marked by a ceremony where people touched on the significance of the art, the day and a tragedy that must never be repeated.

Juliette Wemigwans told the crowd, who lost her sister to domestic violence, said the artwork is a powerful symbol that must be taken seriously.

"To see this symbol, know that it will bring forth a lot of emotions," Wemigwans said.

"You're going to see people coming forth with prayer."

"There's a lot to be said with out of sight, out of mind," said Wahnapitae First Nation Chief Larry Roque.

"And when the community and the families bring forth the stress -- it's no longer out of sight, it's no longer out of mind."

The dress will now hang on the west side of the building and will be visible to anyone travelling eastbound along Elm Street.

Kathryn Corbiere is a two-spirited Anishinabe woman from M'Chigeeng. To her, the artwork was personal. She put a lot of energy into the piece that will now be a permanent reminder of what happened.

She's hoping it will get people talking.

"If they don't know about it, I hope they inquire, ask some questions," Corbiere said.

"If they don't know, do your research because the stats are quite horrific."

The piece was commissioned by the 'Looking Ahead to Build the Spirit of our Women' project, a venture in which both N'Swakamok and the Greater Sudbury Police Service collaborate.

"So many times people talk about it, people have family members, people are impacted by it, but now when you drive by it every day, everybody's going to see it and people will ask questions," said Const. Darrell Rivers.

More than 100 people showed up to the event, which also included lunch for those in attendance.