HPSD Celebrates National Ribbon Skirt Day

HPSD Celebrates National Ribbon Skirt Day
Posted on 01/05/2023
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Eleven-year-old student Isabella Kulak, from Cote First Nation in Saskatchewan, inspired a global movement after being told by an educational assistant on her school’s “formal day” that her handmade ribbon skirt didn’t even match her shirt and that she should wear something more like the other kids.
On the first day back to school after the holidays, Isabella’s family accompanied her back to school in their ribbon skirts and ribbon shirts, along with a drum group, and chiefs from surrounding First Nations. The school division’s director accepted full responsibility for what had happened and recognized the event as an example of systemic racism. He apologized and promised Isabella and her family that the school would do better.
Isabella also received widespread support from around the world, along with many ribbon skirts and ribbons with which to sew more skirts. As well her activism motivated Manitoba Senator Mary Jane McCallum to introduce a bill declaring January 4th as National Ribbon Skirt Day in honour of Indigenous women and girls.
Wednesday, January 4, will be Canada's second national Ribbon Skirt Day. The High Prairie School Division encourages staff and students to wear their ribbon skirts and shirts to school with pride. Students across the division have options classes where they are not only learning to sew their own skirts but are also receiving the teachings about what it means when they wear them. Staff members have also participated in Knowledge Keeper-led ribbon skirt-making events. In order to show cultural appreciation while wearing a ribbon skirt, it is important to understand the background and always purchase from an Indigenous artist.
Isabella’s courage and activism exemplify the power and potential of young people to create real change in our communities and the world. The High Prairie School Division is dedicated to providing education and awareness to our upcoming generations of young people as they grow into confident young leaders and change-makers.
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