When I was a little girl, my mom has a job at a tribal program but for extra income she brought back a box of dolls from the moccasin factory in town. These were manufactured dolls that were adorned with leather outfits and beadwork by local people. The Moccasin Factory also made moccasins and boots and many people were employed here back from the 60’s and early 80’s.
I remember sometimes when my mom would make a mistake on one of the pieces she would let me keep it. Soon, I had a whole little family with a grandma and auntie too. I didn’t have an actual Barbie with blonde hair, blue eyes, and big boobs until later in life so I had to make do with what I had. My little tribe of Indians with their leather outfits and beads. Their arms were straight, their legs didn’t bend and their hair basically stayed braided.
I took my family to school one day, because a bunch of girls were taking Barbies. So many girls had beautiful dolls, I had my Indian dolls and a doll I took from my grandma’s house that had a crocheted dress on with a skirt big enough to hide a toilet paper roll. So, I had this extended family of Indians and a little white foster child dressed in yarn. I was never normal, even in the Barbie department. I remember other girls looking at my dolls and looking away. They had Barbies with cowboy hats, Barbies with skates, Barbies who disco-ed.
I had rez Barbies.
Way later in life, Barbie became trendy and had different versions of Native American Barbie. As if they were Gwen Stefani in her video that was pulled. It was still Barbie, just dressed an an Indian, (feather not dot.) I remember looking at the Native American Barbies and thinking “Geez, my dolls would have been ashamed of you.”
Now, as this is the first year my daughter wants a Barbie to go with her GI Joe doll she found at a yard sale. Despite all the Barbies of her past that never lived past her Barbie genocide phase, I went shopping for a Barbie.
Barbie is “over” her Native American phase. It was just a trend. In fact Barbie is over all her cultural phases, at least where I went shopping, and basically just back to riding bike and other things Barbies can do.
Now I really wished I had my rez dolls for my daughter.