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* From Metis Nation BC website:
The distinct Red Voyageur Sash pattern is easily recognized as Métis. It has been a symbol of the Métis since the time of the fur traders. Today, sashes are worn as a symbol of pride and celebration, but during the fur trade, a sash was daily worn for the Métis. Men often wore their sashes folded in half and tied around the waist creating a pocket for tobacco, medicines, and fire starters. The sash had many practical uses; often worn as a belt for tying a Capote closed, or used as a washcloth and towel, or thread for sewing. The sash was also commonly used as a rope or as back support while carrying furs.
The sash has been worn since the late 1700s. Traditionally, Métis sashes were handmade and finger weaving. Each sash would have between 32 and 42 strands and would take 70 to 300 hours to complete, depending on the pattern and experience of the weaver. This method was adapted from the First Nations practice of finger braiding, with nettle fibre, buffalo hair and hemp, the French Canadian practice of making braided woollen garters and the Norwegian finger weaving styles. You could often identify a Métis family or their origin based on the pattern of their sash.
Due to the time and skill required for handmade sashes, not everyone had access to them.
To solve this, L ‘Assumption Quebec started to mass-produce the Voyageur sashes we recognize today. As early as 1800, they began making sashes on looms. This made sashes affordable and accessible to everyone. Sashes were then sold in varying qualities and price ranges. The most expensive sashes were made of thin wool strands dipped in wax. Dipping the fibres in wax made a waterproof sash that could be used as a cup on the trail or to carry small amounts of water in.
MEANING OF ITS COLOURS:
- Red – is for the blood of the Métis that was shed
- Blue – is for the depth of spirit
- Green – is for the fertility of our Nation
- White – is for our connection to God and our creator
- Yellow – is for prosperity
- Black – is for the dark period of the suppression and the dispossession of Métis people
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C$ 25.00 Excl. tax