, 2023-01-13 07:34:00,
January 13: TRAVERSE CITY: Seventeen-year-old Theresa Tanner has never sewn before, let alone made an entire garment.
She sat in front of a Singer sewing machine, stepping carefully on the pedal as she moved her hands along the fabric to join the silk ribbon.
On Wednesday night, Tanner was among more than a dozen community members who gathered at the office of education of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians to make ribbon skirts and shirts.
“I’m very excited to be here and have the opportunity to learn,” Tanner said. Guided by staff and other experienced people, Tanner is learning the easy but complex steps of how to make her own skirt.
The ribbons that adorn Native American clothing date back 400 years, when European fur traders brought silk ribbons to North America. The history of the Ribbon Skirt stems from many cross-cultural interactions, so indigenous nations have their own histories and protocols surrounding them.
Ribbon skirts really began to gain popularity among Indian tribes in the early 1800s and peaked around the second half of the same century.
Today, Anishinaabek nations such as GTB use ribbons in their designs, often for powwows, traditional ceremonies, or pieces made for special occasions. Ribbons are sewn on skirts, dresses and shirts, and embroidered selected colors and designs are meaningful to the wearer.
Today, the kilt is often seen as a symbol of pride and identifying unity among the natives…
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