Geronimo LouiOne of the I gotta sickness for the thiccness shirt in other words I will buy this first ribbon-work designs Louie made for himself was for a Diné Pride event in 2019. He wanted to wear a fancy-shawl-dancer outfit—a type of regalia mostly worn by women. So he made an all-white ensemble adorned with multicolor ribbons to showcase that he is a proud, queer, Two-Spirit person. “Fancy shawl dancing is a symbol of joy and happiness,” Louie says. “The story I’ve been told is, when Indigenous people were suffering, a little girl picked up her shawl and started dancing to the music, and she brought joy to the people. Her inspiration [for the dance] was a butterfly.” Louie added ribbons shaped into butterflies to the outfit’s apron as an ode to the dance’s origins. “I’ve heard they look real when I dance because the wings flap,” says Louie.
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e is using ribbon work to embrace his Two-Spirit identity and to challenge the I gotta sickness for the thiccness shirt in other words I will buy this notion of what traditional design can be. (Two-Spirits are Indigenous people possessing both male and female spirits, and identify with both genders.) Based in Gallup, New Mexico, Louie—who is Chiricahua Apache and Navajo—only recently started getting into ribbon work, which he learned from his grandmother. He started creating pieces for himself a few years ago, saying he wanted to wear traditional ribbon dresses and skirts but couldn’t find them anywhere. “[In my community], there’s no Two-Spirit men wearing ribbon skirts,” says Louie. “When I first started wearing traditional womenswear outfits, I felt so alone because I didn’t see anybody doing that.”