Native American dolls have a very significant role for the people and culture of the Native Americans. Almost every tribe in each location of the world has produced their own dolls, each is made using different materials and each has their own distinct meanings. These Native American dolls were not only toys for the little girls. Most often, these dolls had a very significant spiritual implication which makes them very symbolic. All the materials used in making the Native American dolls really tell a lot about the different tribes and locations of the native people. For example, most Inuit dolls were created using furs which indicate that the tribe lived in a cold area, thus reflected in the dolls’ dress too.
The Seminole tribes, however, made most of their dolls using palmetto leaves which indicate that the tribe settled in a muddy and damp area. Most of the Native American dolls were skillfully and wonderfully created with detailed features. An example is the Navajo dolls which were very intricate and had small jewelry in their necks and earrings made of turquoise. This indicates a wealthy tribe and the people reflected this abundance and wealth onto their dolls. Often times, the Native American dolls were also used in teaching children about important lessons in life such as coping. These dolls were created with heads made of wood and with a lot of details. In most cases, the Native American dolls represent the people. Dolls that were made without a face are dolls that usually represent a spirit rather than human form.
Native American Dolls and the Native Culture
The Native American dolls can represent as a window to the culture of the Native American tribes. The Seneca tribe even made baby dolls which were usually attached to a tiny board made of thin stripped wood or a bark. The baby dolls were then attached to the back of bigger female dolls. This is a great vision of how their lives went and also shows their culture of carrying babies on boards. Most, if not all, of these Native American dolls, were made using indigenous items and raw materials such as corn husks, large leaves, pine needles, fur, rock, and wood.
At the present time, there are a lot of handicrafts worker who recreate the uniqueness of the Native American dolls. They are trying to make sure that the dolls are as authentic as the original one, with special attention to details, the materials used, the methods of creating the dolls as well as the color choices. Most of the Native American dolls were created with plant dyes, animal blood, and charcoal to add color. The artists today sell lots of Native American dolls every year. People often buy it as a gift, museum piece or decoration, educational doll, for collections, or to just retain or hold on to their heritage. Whatever the reason is, the Native American dolls are the perfect symbol of the Native American life. It is a wonderful mark of respect to a part of history that will forever be prevalent. The Native dolls are found in local stores, gift shops, museums, online sites and on books about Native Americans.