Wednesday, June 20, 2012

My little Cherokee maidens

I bought this Cherokee doll with mysterious pockets at my favorite little thrift store in NJ. Whenever I come across Cherokee stuff—admittedly, not that often, and it's mostly books—I buy it because Lindsay is of Cherokee descent, ergo my children are too. His grandmother was a Cherokee who lived on a holler in Oklahoma, picked strawberries and sold roadside trinkets (I have a few—a very precious few). This makes my kids a little bit Cherokee, which we all think is incredibly cool, though I can assure you that we won't ever claim their Native American heritage when applying to college. That is just so lame. Ahem, I'm looking at you, Elizabeth Warren, hopefully the next Senator from the great state of Massachusetts. Wasn't that a total bummer? I guess no politician remains on the pedestal for long. Bleh.

Meanwhile, in the pockets of this doll I found a card from the Qualla Co-op, which is a collective of Cherokee artisans in Cherokee, NC, established in 1946. When I showed my find to Lindsay, he wanted no part of it: wrong Cherokees. Bad blood dates back to the Trail of Tears, between those who were forcibly relocated from their native lands to Oklahoma, and those who managed to remain on the East Coast (the "Eastern band Cherokee"). As a Finnish-German-Anglo-American, I'm staying out of it. The doll remains on a bookcase in my office, because I like it and at some point I'm gonna figure out what to put in those pockets (right now they hold markers but that's kinda stupid—this house has way more markers than any hand-made Eastern-band Cherokee doll could possibly handle). Anyway, it's to be hoped that one day my kids will read all the books I've bought about Native Americans and form their own opinions, and if that means they're going to stick this poor doll with pins, so be it.

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