Jan. 4, 2023, marked the first annual Ribbon Skirt Day.
Isabella Kulak, a 10-year old Saskatchewan girl, was shamed for wearing her skirt on formal day at school. She reached out to a number of activists who were inspired to stand together and create a movement with this specific day for recognition of ribbon skirts.
On March 21, 2022, local advocates Katherine Swampy, on behalf of Samson Cree Nation’s Women Advisory, and Chevi Rabbit, on behalf of Walk a Mile in a Ribbon Skirt, were included on a panel of Indigenous women presenting supporting arguments to the Canadian Senate on Bill S-219 supporting the national Ribbon Skirt Day.
The bill passed Royal Assent and will be held every January 4.
Ribbon skirts are often worn in ceremonies or special events but can be worn every day. Swampy wears a ribbon skirt almost every day and explains each skirt can have a different meaning depending on the maker.
“Some skirts are red and are a reflection of the memorial of missing or murdered Indigenous women. Some skirts are orange and represent the Every Child Matters movement, those who died in residential schools, and those who survived. Each skirt really could have a very unique and personal meaning,” said Swampy.
“They have a strong visible representation of resilience, strength, and cultural identity.”
– Submitted by Katherine Swampy