The Métis Sash

The Métis sash is an important culture symbol to the Métis people. Most often worn as a belt, the three-metre long finger woven swath of cloth has many other practical applications. This versatility is one of the reasons it is so important to the Métis people.

Along with being used as a belt, the sash can be used as a means to carry other objects, as a scarf, a rope or anything else it’s owner may dream up. Métis women occasionally wear it over the shoulder, while others wear it the traditional way, around the waist and tied in the middle, with the fringes hanging down. Many Métis men wear it as part of their formal attire: around the waist with a suit, or in place of a cummerbund with a tuxedo.

The original Métis sash is made distinct by its identifying colours – red and white represent the mixing of the two nations; blue depicts the sky and bountiful water; green represents fertility and growth and yellow depicts the sun.

Métis groups in Canada often present sashes as special gifts to honour a person or their accomplishments.

Reprinted with permission from the Métis Nation of Alberta.