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(From L to R) Teresa Byrne, Laura Forsythe and Christine Cyr with the Métis sash that will be present on the podium at all U of M convocations going forward.

Métis sash to be present at all U of M Convocations going forward

June 5, 2018 — 

For the first time this year – and every year going forward – a Métis sash will be present on the podium for the U of M’s convocations. It is customary to have a sash present at all gatherings, meetings and celebrations where Métis peoples, history and culture are being discussed or recognized.

The addition of the sash, along with Indigenous-specific purple scarves and an Honour Song sung after O Canada, are all examples of the U of M’s continued effort to weave Indigenous knowledge, cultures and traditions into the fabric of the university.

“I am so pleased that such an important and powerful symbol of Métis history, culture and identity is now going to be included in the Convocation of graduates each year,” says Christine Cyr, director of the Indigenous Student Centre.

“With such a large Métis population and a growing commitment by the University to acknowledge and honour Indigenous traditions and ways of being, this is an extremely significant moment of relationship building.”

The sash was woven by Teresa Byrne, the Métis historic tour coordinator at the Louis Riel Institute (LRI), an affiliate of the Manitoba Metis Federation.

Byrne’s sash teachings came from Mary Conway of Turtle Mountain. The sash was made on an inkle loom, and each of the five colours and various patterns has significance.

The brown and gold represent the U of M colours. The gold is also the lifeline and represents a bright future.

The red and black pattern represents the dark times for the Métis peoples, such as Road Allowance people, Louis Riel being hanged for high treason and Indian Residential Schools.

The red represents the heart or the bold of the Métis Nation, while the next pattern is the Métis flag, which is an infinity symbol.

The red and white pattern represents the Red River, while the white represents the Creator.

The middle pattern represents flowers, which is a symbol of the seeds being planted in the students as they blossom into beautiful and unique flowers.

Be sure to look for the sash at all upcoming and future U of M convocations.

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