Red Ribbon Skirts and Cultural Resurgence

Kimihko sîmpân iskwêwisâkaya êkwa sihcikêwin waniskâpicikêwin

in Girlhood Studies
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Kari Dawn Wuttunee kdwutt@gmail.com

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Jennifer Altenberg jaltenberg@gscs.ca

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Sarah Flicker York University flicker@yorku.ca

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Abstract

A small group of Indigenous girls and their allies came together to make ribbon skirts to reclaim teachings, resist gender-based and colonial violence, and re-imagine our collective futures. Based on the personal reflections of the organizers and the girls involved gathered through individual semi-structured interviews and directed journal writing, we share lessons about the process and outcomes. Learning about the historical and cultural significance of ribbon skirts gave these girls a stronger connection to their culture, community, and each other. Wearing their ribbon skirts became an embodied act of resistance to violence in promoting resilience and self-determination. This case study illustrates how Indigenous girls and their allies can engage in resurgence practices to challenge gender-based violence through reclaiming and adapting cultural teachings and practices.

Contributor Notes

Kari Dawn Wuttunee is nêhiyaw-iskwêw from Red Pheasant Cree Nation. As an Indigenous feminist, she is focused on the wellbeing of young women and their survival in neo-colonial environments. Email: kdwutt@gmail.com

Jennifer Altenberg is a Michif woman and educator in Saskatoon, SK. Fostering self-love as a form of resistance to colonial discourse inspires the work she does in the classroom and the Saskatoon community. Email: JAltenberg@gscs.ca

Sarah Flicker (ORCID: 0000-0001-6202-5519), of eastern European Jewish ancestry, is a professor in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University. Her research focuses on engaging youth and other actors in environmental, sexual and reproductive justice. Email: Flicker@yorku.ca

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