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gishchi-iteeyihteenaan ee-kishkamaahk: We Wear Them with Pride

By: Amy Briley, Program Coordinator

Feb 5, 2024

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On January 20th, over 100 people celebrated the Métis Ribbon Skirt exhibition during the opening reception at the Saskatchewan Craft Council. The exhibition titled gishchi-iteeyihteenaan ee-kishkamaahk: We Wear Them with Pride, co-created by the Gabriel Dumont Institute and the Saskatchewan Craft Council, showcases beautiful ribbon skirts made by Métis women. The Métis Ribbon Skirt exhibition celebrates Métis history while embracing the cultural traditions of women who continue to make and wear contemporary-style ribbon skirts. In recent years, ribbon skirts have become a symbol of cultural reclamation for Indigenous women, including Métis women, who wear ribbon skirts to honour their history and demonstrate cultural pride. 

The exhibit runs until March 9th and showcases 24 skirts and three ribbon shirts created by Métis women who’ve connected to their ancestry through the process of learning about and making ribbon skirts. Each skirt is as unique as its maker, and many hold stories of their cultural identity as Métis women. The ribbon skirts are referred to by some as “story skirts” because the ribbons and fabrics can represent a story that is significant to the maker. Some skirts pay tribute to family members, while others represent important cultural movements like Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women or Every Child Matters. 

When asked if Métis women traditionally wore ribbon skirts, we need only look at historical images to see that ribbon skirts were a common piece of clothing worn by Métis women. From the 1780s, the Métis had primary access to trade cloth, ribbons, and beads. Due to their durability, washability, and availability, cotton and wool became the preferred fabrics for making clothing. The ribbons added a pleasing aesthetic to their clothes, which was fashionable for the time. As times change, so do the trends and the availability of different materials. What does not change is the ownership and pride of the maker, particularly for the clothing that expresses one’s culture. We cannot say how long Métis women have been wearing ribbon skirts, but thanks to old photographs and the art that preceded photography, as well as travelers’ accounts, we know they have been worn for more than two hundred years. 


We hope you will take the time to visit the exhibit, learn about the historical significance of Métis style ribbon skirts, and get some inspiration from the beautiful works on display. 

The exhibition is up until March 9th at the Saskatchewan Craft Council, 813 Broadway Avenue in Saskatoon, and is free to attend. 

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Gabriel Dumont Institue

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