Students and staff at Elk Island Public Schools (EIPS) celebrated Ribbon Skirt-Shirt Day on Wednesday (Jan. 7).
“The purpose is for Indigenous staff and students to proudly wear their ribbon skirts and ribbon shirts to show pride in their culture and increase visibility within Division spaces,” said Cheryl Devin, a First Nations, Métis and Inuit Education consultant at EIPS. “For allies that have been gifted ribbon shirts or skirts, it’s an opportunity for them to show solidarity as well.”
There were several events leading up to Ribbon Skirt-Shirt Day, with EIPS holding a workshop for Indigenous students on January 30 and 31.
“This day reminds us that before we look to judge, we should first seek to understand. By doing so, we foster learning and working environments that showcase diversity in the most vibrant and beautiful ways, just like the different colours, patterns and fabrics of ribbon skirts and shirts,” said Cathy Allen, board chair of EIPS.
The first National Ribbon Skirt Day was held back in 2023 when Isabella Kulak wore a ribbon skirt to her elementary school’s formal dress day. Kulak was shamed for her skirt and told that it didn’t count as formal dress.
This is what led to the Canadian Government acknowleding the cultural significance of the ribbon skirt and recognizing January 4 as National Ribbon Skirt Day.
Although the day is usually held in January, it was pushed back at EIPS schools due to the day falling on their winter break.