The Métis Sash – La Ceinture Fléchée (French) – La Sayncheur Flayshii (Michif)
Taanishi kahkiyaw! Hello all and Happy National Indigenous Peoples’ Day! When I thought of topics to write about to celebrate this day, I figured I would start with one of the most significant symbols of my culture, the sayncheur flayshii or the arrow sash.
Known originally as the L’Assomption sash given its roots a Quebec town, the sash is traditionally finger woven with wool using a blend of both French and Indigenous techniques. Used practically by the voyagers of the fur trade, the Métis sash could be used as a pocket to hold small goods, a belt, a washcloth or towel, or for back support while carrying heavy loads. Each different coloured strand has meaning, and the patterns and colours used can vary depending on the Métis family and homeland from which it originates. Every handmade Métis sash is unique and tells a different story.
My sash, seen below, has the following colours and meanings:
- Red – represents the blood of the Métis people that was lost fighting for our people.
- White – represents our connection to the earth and the Creator.
- Blue – represents the depth of our spirits.
- Green – represents the fertility of our nation.
- Yellow – represents the prospect of prosperity for our people.
Being presented a sash by a Métis elder is an honour and a ceremonial recognition of acceptance into the larger Métis community. The sash is a symbol of the strength of our people and helps to unite us across provincial boundaries and wherever we have made home.
I hope everyone takes a moment today to reflect on Indigenous history in Canada. Learn something new about the Indigenous community closest to you, listen to local Indigenous singers, drummers, or fiddlers, or make some fry-bread or Bannock with your family. Maarsii. Thank you.