Judy Ducharme proudly wears her ribbon skirt to help recognize and celebrate her Indigenous culture and to combat racism, stereotypes, and discrimination.Emily Plihal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Women across the nation came together on Jan. 4 to recognize National Ribbon Skirt Day by wearing the apparel to recognize a rich Canadian culture.

National Ribbon Skirt Day received Royal Assent on Dec. 15, 2022, in recognition of a young woman from Cote First Nation who was shamed for wearing her ribbon skirt to her school’s formal day in 2020. Following the school’s formal day, Isabella Kulak received national support advocating for this day in recognition of Indigenous culture. Each year the National Ribbon Skirt Day is gaining momentum to ensure that no other human has to suffer the shame that was inflicted on Kulak.

“Traditionally, ribbon skirts were simple and used for ceremonies, now contemporary skirts are so beautiful, representative of the individual,” says Aboriginal Services’ Wendy Goulet.

“They’re still worn in ceremonies and to special events or some wear every day. It helps spread awareness, shows that we are still with our culture and traditions.”

Goulet says anyone can wear a ribbon skirt; you do not have to be indigenous. She says this day provides an opportunity to combat racism, stereotypes, discrimination and raise awareness, celebrate Indigenous ways of knowing and being.

“Growing up not participating in traditional ceremonies because of colonialism is one of my deepest regrets,” says Judy Ducharme.

“Taking time to learn, appreciate and love my cultural identity has become a passion. I wear my long hair for those that had theirs cut, I speak and learn my language for those silenced and today I proudly wear a ribbon skirt for those made to feel shame when they wore theirs.”

Ducharme and Goulet agree this signifies a part of their heritage and helps celebrate the beauty in their culture.

By Emily Plihal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jan 10, 2024 at 09:50

This item reprinted with permission from   South Peace News   High Prairie, Alberta

Comments are Welcome - Use the 'Join the Discussion' above any replies, or 'TheRegional / Chat' below replies. Both links take you to the same place. You will be asked to become a registered user if you are not one already - Posts are moderated