Humboldt and area’s creative community will have an opportunity to delve into a deeply held cultural tradition as a local group hosts a ribbon skirt making workshop. The workshop will take place at the Bella Vista In on Saturday, January 28 from 1:00 - 3:00 pm. It’s a time for multicultural women from the area to come together and enjoy a space of creativity and connection, as outlined on the promotional poster. 

Attendees will be able to learn to make their own ribbons skirts with meaning pertaining to the individual. They will learn about the tradition and the place of the ribbon skirt in Métis heritage as symbols of strength and empowerment. Organizers include Celeste Leicht, Carol Brons, Judy Plag, and Penny Lee, who reflects on the importance for herself and the motivation for the workshop. 

“For myself, I am Métis and my appreciation and respect for Indigenous heritage was instilled in me by researching my family history, as well as throughout my career,” explains Lee. 

Lee’s varied career path has included working with Indigenous governance and educational organizations like the Federation and Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) and the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies (SIIT). Lee reconnected with some of her colleagues at those institutions. Then, Lee and the other three organizers were invited to participate in the Grand Entry at the FSIN Powwow in October, 2022. The four women gathered to fashion their ribbon skirts for the event.

“We had such a great time sewing and chatting about what each of our skirts meant to each of us. Shortly after our group session, I read an article about a northern community that hosted a ribbon skirt making workshop to reconnect the community members. That’s what inspired me, and I told the other girls, we have to do this for Humboldt.”

Attention to the artistry of the ribbon skirt was highlighted in December of 2020 when young Isabella Kulak of Cote First Nation wore a ribbon skirt to a formal dress day at her school and was admonished by a staff member for doing so. She was escorted into her school, following the Christmas break, by a crowd of women wearing ribbon skirts and supported by the presence of local Band Chiefs. That incident was the impetus for National Ribbon Skirt Day on January 4. 

Lee explains that Isabella’s grandmother will be on hand at the Humboldt workshop.

“Judy Pelly will be our very special guest speaker,” Lee says. “I used to work with Judy, and she’s now retired. She is an inspirational knowledge keeper and cultural advisor, born and raised on Cote First Nation. Needless to say it’s an absolute honour to have her come and share her story with us.”

For Lee, her connection with her ribbon skirt is wrapped up in her family and heritage.

“In terms of the ribbon skirt and what it means to me is how proud I am of my Métis heritage. The blue tone with the white colour has an appliqué of the infinity symbol, which is the symbol of the Métis.”

Other elements of the skirt harken to the birth months for her granddaughter and her son, and a green and gold ribbon to signify that Penny is from Humboldt. 

Registrants can bring their own sewing machines and supplies to the session. If you don’t have either, feel free to attend and enjoy the company and learn something new. The workshop is free, but attendees are asked to indicate they’re coming by emailing: A video tutorial on making ribbon skirts by renowned artist Tala Tootoosis can be viewed prior to the event at All are welcome to attend.