The Métis Sash
The Métis sash, as with most Métis cultural artefacts, developed from both European and Indian roots.
Several Eastern Indian tribes shared the tradition of the wampum belt, a sash-like belt made of hide upon which prophecies of the future were embroidered. The Métis sash borrows from this tradition and the tradition of the tartan, from the Scot.
Sashes were not merely ceremonial, but functional. Upon them, small tools and implements could be hung. They were used to carry larger bundles during the long portage. Sashes were also used to identify ownership of killed buffalo during the hunt: the owner's sash (colors and pattern specific to a family) was draped across the carcass.
Sashes are worn by men belted around the waits; by women diagonally across the shoulder. Smaller sashes can be worn as hand or head bands. Métis sashes are today worn with pride at social gatherings, celebrations, formal events, and any other time a Métis man, woman or child wishes to express pride of heritage.
If an Indian person were to honour a non-Indian individual they would present that person with a headdress. In the Métis community the "ORDER OF THE SASH" has evolved as the system to honour individuals from within and outside the community.
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