‘Can’t believe it’: Sagkeeng First Nation beader’s work ends up on Whoopi Goldberg’s neck | CBC News

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‘Can’t believe it’: Sagkeeng First Nation beader’s work ends up on Whoopi Goldberg’s neck | CBC News

What started out as a loose pile of beads in Manitoba is generating a discussion on American television about murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls.

Mish Daniels, a member of Sagkeeng First Nation in Manitoba, is elated after seeing her elaborate beadwork around the neck of movie star and host of The View Whoopi Goldberg.

Daniels nearly lost it when she turned on Monday’s episode of The View and noticed Goldberg wearing her handmade red jingle dress dancer medallion.

“I lost my voice yesterday morning because I was screaming so much,” said Daniels, who was raised in Winnipeg and now lives in Selkirk, Man.

“It’s like you’re winning the lottery or something, and I just can’t believe my little fingers and my work made it to New York City and Whoopi Goldberg and The View.”

Goldberg — who starred in movies like Ghost and The Color Purple and has won Academy, Emmy, Tony and Grammy awards for her film, television, stage and comedy work — wore the large medallion again on Tuesday on The View. 

This time, she revealed it represents missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada and the U.S.

The first dancer medallion Daniels ever made was for and crafted in the image of her niece, a traditional powwow dancer.

Since then Daniels has been selling her work at powwows and elsewhere.

Initially she didn’t know whether they’d be popular.

“I never thought in a million years they would get to Whoopi Goldberg.”

The necklace ended up in Goldberg’s hands in a circuitous way. Daniels sold it to Connie Greyeyes from Fort St. John, B.C., who ordered a red jingle dress medallion to honour missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. 

Greyeyes was also an organizer at a recent conference in Vancouver, where she had a chance encounter with Goldberg.

The conference, part of a project on the impacts of industry on Indigenous women and girls, was at a hotel where Goldberg was attending a different conference. Goldberg was drawn by the smell of smudging, a traditional ceremony that involves burning plants.

Goldberg, who Daniels said is involved in the MMIWG cause in the U.S., spoke with Greyeyes and told her how much she admired the medallion she was wearing.

She talked about wanting to bring awareness to missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in the U.S., and that gave Greyeyes an idea.

Whoopi Goldberg and Connie Greyeyes met recently while attending separate conferences at a hotel in Vancouver. (Submitted by Mish Daniels)

“She said, ‘It’s not really being talked about, and it needs to be,'” Greyeyes said.

“I wasn’t going to wear that medallion that day. It didn’t go with what I was wearing, and I looked at her and I just thought, ‘I’m meant to give her something for sharing that with me, and for being so gracious.'”

Goldberg accepted the gift, though she was shocked by the kind gesture, said Greyeyes.

Daniels said that kind of gift-giving impulse is what she was taught to listen to growing up.

“I am Ojibway, and in our culture and belief system, when somebody admires something of yours like that, it’s protocol to give it away,” Daniels said. 

It was Greyeyes who first told her that the medallion had ended up with Goldberg, said Daniels.

“Connie messaged me right away after and said, ‘Oh Mish, I need a new good medallion, I gifted my medallion to Whoopi!'”

Watch Daniels, Greyeyes and Goldberg talk about the necklace:

Mish Daniels’s handy work, made in Manitoba in honour of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, has been thrust into the spotlight. Host of The View, Whoopi Goldberg, donned Daniels beaded necklace during back-to-back episodes this week. Video elements courtesy of The View/Twitter. 3:06

The two excitedly wondered over the phone whether Goldberg would wear the piece on The View

“I was jumping up and down with my niece and nephew,” when she saw it, Daniels said. “I scared the bejesus out of them.”

Daniels’ phone has been ringing off the hook with people placing orders for bead work, she said.

“I need to hire another hand with all the orders I got!”

She sells cars for a living, but her true passion has always been beadwork. 

“I just can’t believe it,” she said. “And now I am going to be beading until the pigs fly.”

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