The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on National Ribbon Skirt Day:
“Today, I acknowledge all those across Canada who are marking the second National Ribbon Skirt Day and the significance that ribbon skirts represent during ceremonies and special events throughout the year.
“Observed for the first time last year, National Ribbon Skirt Day commemorates the experience of Isabella Kulak, a member of Cote First Nation in Saskatchewan who was shamed for wearing a handmade ribbon skirt to a formal day at her elementary school. Ribbon skirts have been worn by First Nations and Métis women, girls, and gender-diverse people for generations. With their vibrant colours, bold patterns, and intricate designs, they are a symbol of pride and offer a deep connection to Mother Earth. Isabella’s story – and the stories of so many others – reminds us of the ongoing challenges Indigenous Peoples face, including racism and inequity, and of the work we need to continue doing, together, on the shared path of reconciliation. Today, we see women, girls, and gender-diverse people wearing ribbon skirts both formally and informally – like when they cross the stage to receive their degrees or when they are passing on traditional knowledge to the next generations at home or in classrooms. Thanks to their resilience, that history has not been and will never be lost.
“Reconciliation is a journey we must all take together, and we know there is more work ahead. That is why, last June, we released the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act Action Plan. Developed in consultation and collaboration with Indigenous partners, the Action Plan serves as our roadmap to advance reconciliation in a meaningful way, including by helping preserve, promote, and revitalize First Nations, Inuit, and Métis languages, cultures, and traditions. We are also working to put an end to the national crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQI+ people. This includes working in partnership with Indigenous Peoples to implement the Federal Pathway and to explore a public alert system for missing Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQI+ people. We remain committed to building a better future in partnership with Indigenous Peoples.
“On National Ribbon Skirt Day, I invite all Canadians to learn more about Isabella’s story and Indigenous Peoples’ histories, cultures, and diversity – from exploring century-long traditions, to engaging in cultural activities, to reading their stories online – and to celebrate the ongoing contributions of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis to Canada.”