Two years ago, Isabella Kulak of the Cote First Nation in Saskatchewan, was shamed by a staff member of the school she attended for wearing a ribbon skirt.
Following this, the hashtag #Isupportbella started trending on social media. Indigenous people all over the world started posting photos of themselves in ribbon skirts in order to show support. As well, Bill S-219, An Act Respecting a National Ribbon Skirt Day, was put forth soon after. After the bill passed last month, January 4th, 2023, became the date for the first-ever National Ribbon Skirt Day.
In a release, Grand Chief of the Southern Chiefs Organization, Jerry Daniels, said, "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. 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.”
Recognized by many First Nations people as unique and beautiful handmade works of art, ribbon skirts are traditionally warn by First Nations girls, women, Two Spirts, and gender-diverse people in ceremonies and during special events. They are often tied to a person's spirit name and colours and can also respresent an individual's identity, unique diversity, and strength.
The Southern Chiefs Organization invites everyone to take part in National Ribbon Skirt Day today by posting a picture of yourself in a ribbon skirt or ribbon shirt and tagging "SCO".