M. Margaret Froh (President of the Métis Nation of Ontario)

The Métis sash

Métis youth leader Katelyn LaCroix was recently asked what being Métis meant to her. She replied that “like the sash, we are two cultures coming together to create something new and beautiful and useful.” This comparison is as apt as it is poetic because the sash is such an essential ingredient to our Métis heritage and culture.

Like the Métis themselves, the sash arose out of the fur trade and the daily lives of our voyageur ancestors. Combining First Nations finger-weaving techniques with European wool, brightly coloured sashes were first worn by voyageurs for practical purposes. They provided back support, could be used as ropes, tumplines, towels, bridles and for assorted other purposes. Eventually, they became a badge of occupation and Métis voyageurs in particular embraced its use and began wearing them for ceremonial purposes. Over time, it became known as the “Métis sash.”

Today, the sash remains one of the greatest symbols of the Métis Nation. It is worn proudly both around the waist and over the shoulder and is embraced by youth like Katelyn as well as our elders and is worn at meetings, formal occasions and celebrations all across our homeland. With it, we proclaim, “We are Métis.”

Photos courtesy of M. Margaret Froh

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