National Ribbon Skirt Day as seen by Senator Michèle Audette
Canada celebrates the very first National Ribbon Skirt Day this year.
Senator Michèle Audette (archives).
In a vision that is both universal and more intimate, Indigenous Senator Michèle Audette traces the thread of the bill that gave birth to National Ribbon Skirt Day, celebrated premiered on January 4, 2023.
This day was born out of the story of Isabella Kulak, an Indigenous youth from Cote First Nation in Saskatchewan. The little girl was humiliated for wearing a ribbon skirt on a special day organized at her elementary school.
Isabella Kulak, a member of Cote First Nation in Saskatchewan, had been criticized for wearing the ribbon skirt she had made to a school event (archives).
How this 10-year-old little voice, discriminated against and who has suffered racism has experienced this? She got up, says Senator Audette, an Innu-Quebecer from Uashat mak Mani-utenam.
This young student returned home and decided to denounce this humiliation and thus inspired Manitoba Senator Mary Jane McCallum, who sponsored the bill.
“From a situation that may seem banal for a school, a situation that can also be considered nasty , Isabella Kulak used her right to speak up to create a law”
— Michèle Audette, senator
A bill has been introduced to make January 4 National Ribbon Skirt Day. It's not a public holiday. Michèle Audette specifies that the project received royal assent on December 15.
Isabella Kulak inspired thousands of women to celebrate the skirt after suffering this humiliation at school.
Senator Michèle Audette wants to send a message to young indigenous people.
“When you're going through something where you feel aggrieved, experience discrimination, or think it's important to you, there are people around who can hear it, just like Senator Mary Jane McCallum heard the voice of Isabella Kulak”
— Michèle Audette, Senator
Mrs. Audette recalls that this day allows Indigenous women to be proud of their culture, their identity, Aboriginal spiritual symbols and traditions.
Michèle Audette wears a ribbon skirt during her swearing-in ceremony in the Senate of Canada on November 22, 2021. p>
In the Senate, this symbolic bill of discrimination experienced by Aboriginal people was discussed as part of a healthy discussion, says Senator Michèle Audette.
During the discussions, colleagues of Senator Michèle Audette were concerned about the wearing of skirts given the colder weather in some provinces or territories.
In response, the Senator Audette pointed out that it is possible to adapt the skirt according to different climates since they are handmade from the beginning to the end of their design. An explanation that was unanimous in the Senate.
Young people can change the order of things. They can play an important role, says Senator Michèle Audette.
“We are always victims of several discriminations: [because] you have dark skin, not dark enough, because the 'we speak our language, because we don't speak our language, we still see it in school'
— Michèle Audette, Senator in the Senate of Canada
Canada has a responsibility to educate people and us, to see that we have the right to be beautiful, strong and no matter where we go, concludes Ms. Audette.
In addition, the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, commented on the holding of this day with a message focusing on openness.
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Today marks the first National Ribbon Skirt Day, which is based on the story of Isabella Kulak and invites us to learn more about Indigenous cultures, traditions, stories and contributions. Details: https://t.co/GspevMiaMR
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) January 4, 2023
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I invite everyone to learn more about the cultures and stories of indigenous peoples, from their languages to their traditional ceremonies and costumes or their ancestral ties to the land, he said in a written statement.