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Cree Métis coat
Red River
Hide, mother of pearl buttons, silk ribbon, porcupine quill, dyes
116 x 97 cm

This fitted coat is made of semi-tanned hide decorated with porcupine quillwork in blue, red, yellow, and green on the central back panel, collar, cuffs, and pocket flaps. The shoulders are trimmed with long cut fringe attached at the shoulder seam, the upper six centimeters of which are wrapped with quills in the four colors, followed by a pair of black bead spacers between each fringe. The central back panel is trimmed at the waist seam with long fringe made in a similar manner. The collar, cuffs, and right front edge are bound with brown silk ribbon, while the back vent, left front edge, and right skirt front are bound with narrower black silk ribbon. The coat bodice has five pairs of shell buttons and five paired buttonholes. There are also two buttons flanking the central back panel at the waist seam. The seams are all hand-sewn using commercial cotton (?) thread. While the large buttons and quill rosettes on this coat are somewhat unusual, its cut, binding, fringe at the lower back, and quillwork are characteristically Métis. Métis women in some communities were creating quillwork clothing well into the 20th century.

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