Borealis Beading, owned and operated by Melanie Gamache, is located in St. Genevieve, Manitoba, approximately 52 kilometers south east of Winnipeg. Melanie is a Francophone Métis artisan who started beading in 2014. Since then, she has welcomed visitors from across Canada to teach them about the connection Métis people have with beadwork, food and nature. Indigenous beadwork is not only beautiful, it also signifies and captures a person’s culture and history.

Of note, The Métis Cultural Learning Experiences she offers provides a unique and authentic learning opportunity for guests, and being accredited through The Original Original Accreditation Program assures visitors that products and services that are truly authentic and that have been accredited by the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC).

Borealis Beading provides interactive, on-site and mobile, creative, hands-on learning experiences where guests learn about the history and cultural significance of Métis people, also known as, “The Flower Beadwork People”. Métis cultural learning experiences are delivered in a style that reflects the traditional beading circle, where friends and family would gather to share stories and talk about their day while passing on the traditional art of beadwork.

Surrounded by the aspen oak forest, Melanie welcomes guests to her property with  Perlage: A Métis Voyage,. This outdoor interactive, immersive, and authentic Métis cultural learning experience sharing stories of connections between nature, history, art, and food.  This 5-hour experience includes four different learning activities, such as  

  • Sharing stories growing up in a French Métis family while sitting around the kitchen table
  • A short guided walk where she will identify and share some of her knowledge on vegetation and its connection to the Métis culture and history
  • A hands-on beading activity while sharing stories on the evolution of beadwork;
  • Last but certainly not least is welcoming guests back to the kitchen table for a Métis charcuterie board that includes bison jerky, Bannock, and homemade jams.

In addition, Melanie also offers a new program called Métis Connections. This is another Métis cultural and historical learning experience that includes an interactive learning presentation weaving personal and borrowed stories on the connections between the Métis sash, the Red River Cart, Métis beadwork, the Plains Bison, and the various names given to the Métis throughout history and the stories behind these names. There is also an option to include a hands-on beading activity where stories are shared on the evolution of beadwork from pre-colonialism to the present day. This program differs from Perlage because it is a mobile experience and comes to clients.

Melanie’s creative passion and commitment to sharing her Métis culture with others is important, “Beadwork is an art that was almost lost. Being able to teach others is a gift”. As an Indigenous artisan, she understands the importance of sustainability and supporting other artisans. Melanie not only has her creations for sale on her website, but she also has other artisans’ work available, including beading kits for beginners.  

For more information about The Original Original Accreditation Program and how you can be accredited, click here.