Trad­ing Post

Tales and Trea­sures from the rich legacy of the Hud­son’s Bay Com­pany

Canada's History - - CONTENTS -

Ban­dolier bag. Plus sto­ries from more than nine decades of The Beaver mag­a­zine.

The Anishin­abe word for ban­dolier bag is Aazhooningwa’on, which means “worn across the shoul­der.” These bags are worn di­ag­o­nally across the body, like a messenger bag. They orig­i­nated with Indige­nous groups in the East­ern Wood­lands/Great Lakes area and were ac­tu­ally mod­elled af­ter European mil­i­tary am­mu­ni­tion bags. Us­ing trade cloth, women would sew hun­dreds of small glass trade beads over the en­tire sur­face of the bag and its strap, of­ten filling all of the neg­a­tive space with beads. The re­sult is an in­cred­i­bly beau­ti­ful but very heavy piece of wear­able art. The ear­li­est bags were purely dec­o­ra­tive, lack­ing a pocket or pouch, and they were worn as part of men’s cer­e­mo­nial out­fits. This late-nine­teen­th­cen­tury bag is an ex­cel­lent ex­am­ple of the sym­me­try and flo­ral and leaf de­signs of the Anishin­abe. — Amelia Fay, cu­ra­tor of the HBC Col­lec­tion at the Man­i­toba Mu­seum

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