FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 4, 2023
ANISHINAABE AND DAKOTA TERRITORY, MB — The Southern Chiefs’ Organization (SCO) is calling on all peoples to join us in marking the first ever National Ribbon Skirt Day in what is now known as Canada.
“While the significance of the ribbon skirt is well known by many First Nations citizens, the events that led to the creation of this day clearly show there is much learning to be done about the sacredness and ceremonial importance of ribbon skirts,” stated SCO Grand Chief Jerry Daniels. “Today we honour young Isabella Kulak for her courage and resolve. We lift up all our relations who do what they can to raise awareness of our cultures, along with combatting racism and discrimination.”
The first National Ribbon Skirt Day is taking place two years after Isabella Kulak, of the Cote First Nation, was shamed by a staff member for wearing her ribbon skirt to her Saskatchewan school. Bill S-219, An Act Respecting a National Ribbon Skirt Day, received royal assent last month and is now enshrined in law.
National Ribbon Skirt Day provides an enhanced opportunity for everyone in the country to recognize, learn about, and celebrate the importance of First Nations traditions and expressions of culture.
Ribbon skirts are traditionally worn in ceremonies and during special events by First Nations girls, women, Two Spirit, and gender-diverse people. They are often tied to a person’s spirit name and colours along with representing an individual’s identity, unique diversity, and strength. Many First Nations people recognize ribbon skirts as unique and beautiful handmade works of art.
“In a show of solidarity, I have invited SCO staff to wear their ribbon skirts and ribbon shirts to work today,” added Grand Chief Daniels. “Wearing and displaying such beautiful colours is a meaningful tribute to this important day. I am optimistic this day will lead to more conversations and dialogue that increase understanding and respect for First Nations cultures—ultimately contributing to our ongoing journey of reconciliation.”
SCO invites everyone to take part in National Ribbon Skirt Day on Wednesday, January 4. Post a picture of yourself in a ribbon skirt or ribbon shirt and tag SCO on social media.
The Southern Chiefs’ Organization represents 34 First Nations and more than 83,000 citizens in what is now called southern Manitoba. SCO is an independent political organization that protects, preserves, promotes, and enhances First Nations peoples’ inherent rights, languages, customs, and traditions through the application and implementation of the spirit and intent of the Treaty-making process.
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