Historically, the sash has had a different meaning to the many who have shared in its origin.
But none, we believe, have celebrated and adopted the L’Assomption Sash (Ceinture flêchée) to their proud heritage as did the Metis.
L’Assomption Sash was named after a town in Quebec where it was produced. This colourful sash, as well as being distinguishable Metis apparel, had many more functional uses.
It had fringed ends that served as emergency sewing kits when the Metis were out on a buffalo hunt. The sash also served as a key holder, first aid kit, washcloth, towel and as an emergency bridle and saddle blanket.
In the west, the name “L’Assomption Sash” gave way to today’s term “the Metis sash.”
It has been said that this likely occurred because many of the sash-wearing voyageurs were of mixed-blood, and the sash was most popular among the Metis of the Red River.
Today, the “Metis sash” continues to be an integral part of Metis cultural celebrations.
The Manitoba Metis Federation has, in recent times, adopted a new colour variation for the Metis sash at its Annual General Assembly.
The new chosen colour variation is of the original L’Assomption coloured pattern, with one exception: the yellow has been replaced with black.
The new sash described below has a rich chapter of Metis history woven into each coloured strand.
Blue and White: are the colours of the national Metis flag. It has a white infinity symbol with a blue background. This flag was flown on June 19, 1816 at the Battle of Seven Oaks under the leadership of Cuthbert Grant. He led a Metis brigade on the Assiniboine River and seized the Company post at Brandon House. They then set off to the Red River Fough, the skirmish of Seven Oaks, in which Governor Semple and 21 of his men were killed for the cost of one Metis life.
Red and White: are the colours of the Metis hunting flag. It has a white infinity symbol with a red background. During a hunting expedition, the camp flag belonged to the guide of the day. He was therefore standard-bearer by virtue of his office. In some of these hunting expeditions, great battles occurred, like the Battle of Grand Coteau.
Black: symbolizes the dark period after 1870 in which the Metis people had to endure dispossession, and suppression, at the hands of the Canadians. In the years that followed, the Metis were shot and beaten on the streets of Winnipeg. Bounties were issued on those who had collaborated with Louis Riel. Many left their land and headed west; those who stayed behind moved north. Those who remained were forced off their land and became squatters, living mostly on road allowances.
Green and Gold: signifies fertility, growth and prosperity for the Metis Nation. Green and gold also mean we must move forward and reclaim our rightful place in Canadian history.