RCMP Introduces Ribbon Skirt to Ceremonial Uniform in Landmark Move for Inclusivity and Reconciliation

Image Credit, Nic Amaya

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) has announced a significant update to its ceremonial uniform. Female officers will now have the option to wear the RCMP Ribbon Skirt, a garment steeped in Indigenous culture and tradition, as part of their official ceremonial attire.

The Ribbon Skirt is a powerful symbol within Indigenous communities, representing resilience, survival, identity, and hope. Each skirt is unique, reflecting the wearer’s personal story and heritage. The RCMP Ribbon Skirt features colors of yellow, red, blue, and white, which represent the four cardinal directions and align with the traditional RCMP colors. The satin ribbons on the skirt are placed side by side, symbolizing unity among people from all directions.

This inclusion marks a notable step towards embracing diversity and promoting inclusivity within the national police force. Over the past few decades, the RCMP has made several strides in this direction, including allowing officers to wear turbans and sashes as part of their uniforms and permitting the swearing of oaths on Indigenous feathers in place of the Bible.

The history of the Ribbon Skirt is rich and profound. Traditionally, Indigenous women have worn these skirts during ceremonies and special occasions. Each skirt is often handmade, with designs and colours chosen to reflect personal stories, tribal affiliations, or to honour specific traditions. The Ribbon Skirt stands as a testament to the strength and endurance of Indigenous women.

The inclusion of the Ribbon Skirt into ceremonial attire is not just a nod to tradition, but a powerful gesture of respect and recognition for the diverse cultures that make up Canada. This is a long-overdue step towards reconciliation and a significant move towards fostering a more inclusive and respectful environment within its ranks.

This latest move by the RCMP is seen as a meaningful progression in Canada’s journey toward reconciliation with its Indigenous peoples. The recognition and incorporation of Indigenous cultural symbols within such a prominent national institution is a positive sign of the country’s evolving commitment to honouring its diverse heritage.

As the RCMP continues to evolve, the addition of the Ribbon Skirt to its ceremonial uniform stands as a testament to the organization’s dedication to inclusivity, respect, and unity. It is a powerful reminder that the strength of a nation lies in its ability to embrace and celebrate the unique identities of all its people.