Culture

The story of the Métis sash

The sash is one of the most recognizable symbol of the Métis people.

These days, the sash is mostly used ceremonially, as decoration and to show pride in Métis heritage—worn around the waist or over the shoulder—but the beautiful, bright piece of clothing has a very rich history.

The sash wasn’t only, or originally, used by the Métis. VoyageursFrench Canadians who engaged in the fur trade and travelled by canoeused a similar kind of sash called un ceinture fleche (Assomption sash) as they paddled west, which were later adopted by the Métis.

Along with being hand-woven pieces of art, sashes had practical uses serving as trumplines, first aid kits, ropes, washcloths, towels and saddle blankets. The ends of sashes could even function as emergency sewing kits.

There are few different meanings for the sash’s bright colours.

According to the BC Métis Nation, red stands for the blood shed over many years of Métis people fighting for their rights, blue is for the depth of spirit among Métis people, green is for the fertility of their great nation, white stands for their connection to the earth and creator, yellow is for prosperity and black stands for the dark period of suppression and dispossession of Métis land.

Other organizations say the red and blue stand for the two Métis flags: the blue infinity flag signifying Scottish and French heritage and the red infinity flag some say was for hunting.

Today, groups like the Manitoba Métis Federation and the BC Métis Nation award the Order of the Sash to individuals who do important work to support Métis citizens.

More Stories

An online learning tool highlights the contribution of Louis Riel, the Métis people and the Legislative Assembly of Assiniboia
Learning about Louis
An online learning tool highlights the contribution of Louis Riel, the Métis people and the Legislative Assembly of Assiniboia
Interested in learning the language? There are plenty of resources online to get you started
Learning Michif
Interested in learning the language? There are plenty of resources online to get you started
An exploration of Métis history in archived photographs and artwork
Hiding in Plain Sight: LAC exhibit on the Métis Nation
An exploration of Métis history in archived photographs and artwork

Tags

weremember indigenousveteransday http-spiritpanels-humanrights-ca

Join the discussion

Captcha?color=006091&locale=en

Please enter the characters you see in the image above.

Comments (0)