Guide to Métis Fingerweaving
October 27, 2021
At Métis Crossing we believe in using experiential, hands-on learning opportunities, as a tool for sharing our culture with the world. The traditional workshops offered by our Métis Knowledge Holder and other artists and artisans, are an important opportunity to share the traditional practices and art of the Métis people with visitors to the Crossing. One of the traditional art workshops that is offered at Métis Crossing is an introduction to fingerweaving.
Fingerweaving is a traditional Métis skill that was used when creating the ionic Métis Sash. The Sash is an significant symbol of Métis heritage and often represent special occasions, family ties, and had numerous practical uses. The Sash is one of the most recognizable symbols in Métis culture and was traditionally worn as a belt by Métis people. The Sash was also used for:
- A Belt (for a coat)
- Holding items, such as a hunting knife, or a fire bag
- Symbol of pride and affiliation
- Tourniquet for injuries
- Fringes were knotted to count the days
- Tumpline (a strap that passes over the forehead to carry a load on the back)
- A Rope
- A Scarf
- Key Holder
- First Aid Kit
- Emergency Bridle/Saddle Blanket
- Sewing Kit
- Ankle cover (to prevent snow from getting in leggings when walking in deep snow)
- Markers left on buffalo (after killed- to mark buffalo as their property)
These Sashes took hundreds of hours to complete and required incredible skill and technique – in fact, in today’s context, at minimum wage, a sash would cost over $2800.
The traditional materials used for fingerweaving were wool, linen, or for the wealthy, silk.
To learn more about traditional Métis art join us for a traditional art work shop or visit https://albertametis.com/culture/.