National Ribbon Skirt Day: The Jan. 4 marker explained

Isabella Kulak, an 11-year-old from Cote First Nation in Saskatchewan, was once told by an educator that her handmade ribbon skirt was inappropriate to wear for her school’s “formal day.”

Thanks to Isabella’s activism, there’s now a bill before the Senate that would declare Jan. 4 as National Ribbon Skirt Day in honor of Indigenous women and girls.

For many Indigenous women, ribbon skirts have been an important part of their identity and history. They’ve also been worn at marches across Canada in honor of the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

The Senate bill describes the skirt as a “centuries-old spiritual symbol of womanhood, identity, adaptation and survival and … a way for women to honor themselves and their culture.”

For Isabella, “it represents strength, resilience and womanhood.”

After the incident at her school, which took place in December 2020, it sparked a massive movement on social media. Thousands worldwide joined a Facebook group in support of Isabella, with many posting photos of their own ribbon skirt designs.

Isabella’s parents couldn’t be prouder of their daughter.

“I feel really overjoyed,” Isabella’s mother, Lana Kulak, told CTV News Channel. “She’s been moving mountains and such a changemaker, and I feel really positive of the way things are going now.”

The bill was introduced by Manitoba Sen. Mary Jane McCallum last March and is currently at its second reading.

For Isabella’s father, Chris Kulak, the bill is an opportunity to not just honor his daughter, but also the countless Indigenous local who have struggled over the years.

“All the people who fought so hard for so long to preserve these pieces of heritage — they might have been lost if people hadn’t struggled so hard,” Chris told CTV News Channel.


Leave a Comment