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Ribbon Skirt

February 16th 2022

Christopher Wainwright

    Ribbon Skirt by Tessa Baily

Miskanawah’s Oskayapewis (“worthy helper”) program is proud to offer traditional teachings, skill-building, and crafts to youth year-round. Despite challenges that have arisen from COVID-19, Oskayapewis staff have found creative ways to maintain safety, build connection, and pass down traditional teachings.

One of our most recent workshops, ribbon-skirt and applique-making with Jackie Wabasca, proved to be especially exciting for our youth participants. From November 03 to December 15, 2021, participants and staff spent time learning about Indigenous histories and teachings in relation to the ribbon skirt. Each class began with an opening prayer and smudge followed by a quick check-in amongst the staff and youth. By engaging in prayer and smudge, Oskayapewis staff were creating a safer space for both long-time participants and new comers to help everyone feel relaxed and at home. Regular supper breaks were also an important aspect of the ribbon-making workshop as it was a time for everyone to pause, share laughter and food, and appreciate one another’s work. In the first few classes, youth spent time exploring design ideas, colours, animals, and shapes to uncover what was most meaningful for them. Youth then learned how to make templates for appliques based on their own unique designs. Choosing the fabric was also a special opportunity for each youth as each fabric in coordination with their chosen design had a distinctive meaning for them.

            Within the following weeks, youth worked hard on their skirts and let their creativity flow. Oskayapewis staff noticed that throughout the skirt-making process, the youth showed great respect for their creations as they each handled their skirts with care. As you can see below, the final products are stunning and each reflect the youth’s originality and uniqueness. Miskanawah look’s forward to showcasing these beautiful skirts at our upcoming Virtual Round Dance on Saturday, February 26, 2022.

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