Customers of Manitoba beadwork artist who shot to fame last year say they never got what they paid for
Mish Daniels’s beadwork was worn by Whoopi Goldberg on an episode of The View last year
A Manitoba woman who garnered media attention last year after her beadwork was worn by a popular daytime television show host is now facing allegations from unhappy customers.
Several people who say they ordered beadwork from Mish Daniels, a member of Sagkeeng First Nation in Manitoba, claim she accepted payments for orders but didn't follow through on delivery or issue any refunds.
"She misplaced my address, she didn't have my address, she misplaced my payment — there was a few excuses that didn't make sense," said Jay Davidson.
"So I actually asked for a refund, because I felt something was wrong."
Davidson says he ordered three beaded necklaces from Daniels in December, after seeing the artist's work featured on an episode of The View.
After the episode of the talk show aired, Daniels told CBC she was elated to see her elaborate beadwork worn by movie star Whoopi Goldberg, one of the show's hosts, who explained it represented missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada and the U.S.
Goldberg received the handmade jingle dress dancer medallion after a chance meeting with Connie Greyeyes, an Indigenous activist in B.C., who had originally ordered it from Daniels.
Daniels told CBC last year that after the episode of The View aired, her phone was ringing off the hook with people placing orders for beadwork.
"I need to hire another hand with all the orders I got!" she said in December.
Orders not received, customers say
After seeing news stories, Davidson says he found Daniels on Facebook and ordered the medallions, which he intended to give to his sisters and his girlfriend.
But he says after sending Daniels $470 on Dec. 26, he still hasn't received anything from her.
The Manitoba-raised man, who now lives in Comox, B.C., says he reached out to Daniels several times and tried to get her attention by commenting on her Facebook account.
"I always found that she was telling people to private message, and then those comments were immediately getting deleted," he said.
"And that's when I kinda saw a red flag.… If you delete a comment, you're basically hiding something."
After several weeks of going back and forth with Daniels, Davidson says he asked for a refund, which was denied. He then agreed to wait longer after being assured his order would come soon.
"When that didn't happen I got more excuses. I got everything from 'my car broke down, someone in my family died…' all these things, and I just kept giving her the benefit of the doubt."
Davidson says he was later told his order had been mailed, but was not given a tracking number for this shipment.
"I was getting a really bad sinking feeling in my stomach.… I didn't get rude, but I started getting really abrupt, and said, 'Listen something's not right here. Can you please just give me my money back?'" he said.
"I said, 'I don't want to have to go on your Facebook page and say anything,' and that's when she blocked me and she stopped correspondence with me completely."
Davidson says he filed a report with his local police detachment.
When asked about complaints concerning Daniels, a Manitoba RCMP spokesperson said in an email to CBC News "we have received several reports on this and we are looking into it at this time."
When reached by phone, Daniels declined to do an interview.
'Tomorrow never came'
Davidson is not the only person who says he hasn't received what he paid for.
He reached out to other people who had commented on Daniels's social media page and found they had similar stories.
Anita Stanger says she ordered a medallion on New Year's Eve, and was looking forward to having something that would encourage dialogue about missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
"It's beautiful. It's beautiful artistry. I like her work. I like her design, and I got excited when I saw it," Stanger said from her Ottawa home.
The 71-year-old says Daniels told her she was very busy and that her order was coming soon.
"Another week goes by. And again I correspond with her and she has a bunch of different excuses about [how] she can't get to the post office or she's just finishing the edging and she'll send it out shortly."
Stanger says she was offered a refund toward the end of January, but it never came.
"Three days later she offered me another necklace, and I fall for it again, and she offers to send me earrings in addition at no charge for my troubles," said Stanger.
"Well, two weeks go by and there's nothing. I asked for a refund again. Still nothing."
Stanger said she attempted to reach Daniels via Facebook, but her comments were deleted. She found a phone number for Daniels and spoke to her on the phone in February, she said.
"She promised to send me my refund tomorrow, and of course, tomorrow never came."
Stanger says her experience is disappointing, especially given the message about MMIWG that Goldberg was trying to get across.
Online group started
Stanger said she reported Daniels to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, and also filed a report with her local police service.
Davidson started a now private Facebook group about Daniels, so that people can share their stories and possibly warn others.
"We just needed a place so we could collectively, you know, communicate without being deleted or being silenced," he said.
"None of us really expected to get our money back but we just wanted to stop the cycle of … taking payments and not fulfilling her obligations to people," said Davidson.
The group has nearly three dozen members, from places across Canada and the United States. Davidson said he was forced to make it private because someone was reporting them to Facebook and having their comments deleted.
CBC reached out to several people in the group, all of whom had similar accounts of interactions with Daniels.
Only one man CBC spoke to said he was able to get a partial refund after his family put pressure on Daniels by reaching out to people she knew.
With files from Bryce Hoye