Skip to main content

You are viewing an archived event from a previous year.

Culture Days will return September 20 – October 13, 2024.

Striking a Pose in Sault Ste Marie - Indigenous Ribbon Shirts and Skirts


Design History & heritage Indigenous Museum Performance
Email Save QR code

Date and time


Sault Ste Marie, ON



Offered in English.

Offers closed captioning or subtitles.


Community members from the Sault Ste Marie Indigenous Friendship Centre (IFC) have been busy all summer to create traditional Ribbon Shirts and Skirts. The makers of each new piece will model their creation at the Art Gallery of Algoma in a photo shoot with Kevanna Studios. Photos will be released alongside an article about the project, with interviews from the IFC Director, Cathy Syrette, and Cultural Coordinator, Dallas Abitong.

Indigenous men’s Ribbon Shirts are worn by men from many different Indigenous nations and tribes. The shirts developed from European trade, fabric and cloth and ribbons were another of the trade goods brought to North America. The bright colors of the ribbons made them very popular among Indigenous people. It was in the 1800s calico fabric became available and Indigenous people made clothing from the colourful cloth and fabric. The skills were already in place as the buckskins were used for clothing prior to euro trade. It is said by our Elders that when Indigenous people gather, whether it be at a social powwow, or ceremonial, it is respectful to wear the best of ribbon shirts, as respect is also shown to ancestors who have passed in earlier generations.

Ribbon Skirts represent the symbol of Indigenous womanhood and also tells a story of adaptation and survival. Mainly how Indigenous communities have adopted western culture and made it our own. The skirt: sacred, spiritual and political holds centuries worth of history between its seams. The skirt got its bearings in the late 18th centuries as relationships between the Great Lakes tribes and French settlers expanded, and more goods including ribbon were exchanged. Ojibway clothing which was previously made of animal hide began being replaced by garments of wool and cotton with the traditional applique style of ribbon work you see today being worked in over time. And like our counterparts, we wear ribbon skirts to be respectful of those beings that we cannot see in ceremonial gatherings.

This program will be available on October 14th.

This program is produced in partnership with Ontario Culture Days, Art Gallery of Algoma, and Indigenous Friendship Centre (IFC) as part of the 2020 Creative Residencies.


Sault Ste Marie Indigenous Friendship Centre and the Art gallery of Algoma

The Art Gallery of Algoma was founded as a non-profit public art gallery and incorporated on July 7, 1975. Established by a group of dedicated volunteers and arts enthusiasts, the AGA honours its roots as a community organization with its mission celebrating culture, educating visitors and enriching lives through the visual art. The AGA’s vision is to be a premiere visual arts institution in northern Ontario, gaining national recognition and international partnerships. |||||

The Indigenous Friendship Centre (IFC) in Sault Ste. Marie was incorporated in 1972 as a not-for-profit corporation for Urban lndigenous people. The Friendship Centre Movement (FCM) is the country’s most significant off-reserve Indigenous service delivery infrastructure. Friendship Centres are not-for-profit and charity corporations that are mandated to serve the needs of Urban Indigenous People by providing culturally appropriate services in Urban communities. All programs have an Indigenous focus and available to all community members of the Baawating area.


Ontario Culture Days

This event is part of a hub:

Sault Ste. Marie Cultural Corridor

Sault Ste. Marie Public Library Sault Ste. Marie, ON

2020 Culture Days in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario is being presented through our hub of partners to offer activities Virtually and for some exhibits and events - Face to face. Check each listing to see the details. If you visit our events vir...