In December 2020, 10 year old, Isabella Kulak from Cote First Nation wore a ribbon skirt to Kamsack Comprehensive Institute on formal day. An education assistant shamed her for wearing a ribbon skirt and told her it was inappropriate. The education assistant told her that her skirt didn’t match her shirt and wasn’t dressy enough for a formal day and went on to tell her that she should have worn a store-bought outfit similar to another student’s.
On January 4, 2021, on Isabella’s first day back to school after the incident, a march was held to walk her to class. Women wore ribbon skirts and men wore their ribbon shirts.
As a result of this, Senator Mary Jane McCallum introduced a bill into the senate to make January 4 National Ribbon Skirt Day. The Bill recognizes that Indigenous women are life givers and are entrusted with traditional knowledge to care for their families, their communities and the environment; that the ribbon skirt is a centuries-old spiritual symbol of womanhood, identity, adaptation and survival and is a way for women to honour themselves and their culture; that the ribbon skirt represents a direct connection to Mother Earth and its sacred medicines. The Bill was passed and made into Federal Law last month.
Every year on January 4, National Ribbon Skirt Day will provide an opportunity for everyone to recognize, learn about and celebrate the importance of Indigenous traditions and expressions of culture.
We encourage everyone to show your support by wearing your Ribbon Skirt or Ribbon Shirt proudly tomorrow!