The following is a rich and vivid description of the clothing and bearing of a Metis man encountered on the Plains of North Dakota in 1864.
The [man] who took our mail this morning was of middle age, and of excellent quiet manners. He spoke good French, and was most animated and even eloquent in his description of the scenery of the Coteau du Missouri. He wore a felt hat; a dark blue coat, with a hood; drab leggings fringed with scarlet and black cloth, with beadwork and gilt buttons on the outside; and moccasins embroidered with stained porcupine quills. To this, add a crimson sash around his waist; cross-belts (for his shot-pouch and powder-horn) covered with beautiful work in colored beads; a knife sheath and shot-pouch similarly ornamented; a powder-horn with bright colored tassels and brass nails; and a hunting knife and rifle. He rode a well-trained hunting Rob Roy pony, and had a buckskin saddle, or pad, with elegant designs in colored beads; also, a blue broadcloth saddle cover with red fringes, and decorated in the same way as the saddle.
They [the Metis] are dashing buffalo hunters…much feared from their courage and skill with the rifle, and as horsemen. They have a great deal the same appearance and character of the Indian. They live mainly by the chase, and in the intervals amuse themselves by horse-racing, playing on the violin, dancing, singing, etc. They are a gay, light-hearted race, and are generally reliable, hard-working, enduring, and faithful employees.
Expedition of Captain Fisk to the Rocky Mountains. Letter from the secretary of war, in answer to a resolution of the House of February 26, by Fisk, James L. [from old catalog]; United States. War Dept; United States. 38th Cong., 1st sess., 1863-1864. House.
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