The Métis are a nation of people descended from European and North American Indigenous people. The Métis have strong historical connections to Parks Canada places, such as Riel House and Lower Fort Garry national historic sites. 


Colourful bead art is an important part of Métis culture and the Métis have been called "The Flower Beadwork People". Métis women did most beading in the past, and their art would be used on clothing, bags, gloves, and moccasins.


Moccasins made by Métis women and other Indigenous women were in high demand as trade goods during the fur trade era (early-mid 1800s). Beautiful beading patterns often used glass seed beads on top of a dark background.

 

Why not try your hand at designing some moccasins? It’s a fun way to get creative!


  • Print our moccasin outline (PDF, 1.03 Mb) or draw your own on a large piece of paper. Try to get each moccasin to be around the size of your foot.


  • Think about what you want in your design: 

    • What colours will you use?

    • What pictures will inspire you?

    • Métis bead art often uses pictures of flowers and leaves and other elements of nature. Will you have a nature based design?

    • Families often have their own patterns that are passed along to new generations. 

    • When designing a bead pattern, you can pick things that are both important to you personally and things that you think look good! 

    • Be creative!


If you want to use paint:

 

Pour liquid paints into jar lids or egg cartons.  

Use liquid paints (like tempera or acrylic) and put a small amount of each colour you will use in a paint tray, or in small containers like jar lids or egg cartons.

 

 

Dip the end of a cotton swab in the paint. 

Dip the end of a cotton swab in the paint and practice making round dots on some scrap paper: these are your beads. Use a new cotton swab for each paint colour.

 

 

Create your design 

After you practice, create your design with dots on your moccasins.

 

Make sure you let your designs dry before hanging them!


Or, if you want to use markers:

 

 

If you don’t have liquid paints, use the tip of markers to gently to make little round dots for your beads.

 

Make sure you let your designs dry before hanging them!


Share your designs with friends and family! Hang on the wall or the fridge to show off your artistic talents.


For more information on beading and Métis culture, we encourage you to watch this video.

 


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