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 schools formal day.
Thanks to Isabellas activism, theres now a bill before the Senate that would declare Jan. 4 as National Ribbon Skirt Day in honour of Indigenous women and girls.
For many Indigenous women, ribbon skirts have been an important part of their identity and history. Theyve also been worn at marches across Canada in honour 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 honour 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.
Isabellas parents couldnt be prouder of their daughter.
I feel really overjoyed, Isabellas mother, Lana Kulak, told CTV News Channel. Shes 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 Isabellas father, Chris Kulak, the bill is an opportunity to not just honour his daughter, but also the countless Indigenous activists 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 hadnt struggled so hard, Chris told CTV News Channel.