A BARBIE DOLL dressed as an American Indian will be stripped of her buckskins if Professor Patricia A. McCormack has her way. McCormack, Professor of Native Studies at the University of Alberta, launched the nasty attack on Mattel’s Native Barbie early last month.
“They are always dressed up as these beautiful Pocahontas-type princesses.” said McCormack
“They do not have a Native American vet, lawyer or school teacher.”
McCormack wants Indian dolls dressed as white people, not as traditional Indians. But Mattel has sold over a million Native Barbies since 1993, so it’s a great opportunity for Leftists to humiliate Indians.
McCormack’s February lecture, “Deconstructing Barbie,” was in women’s interest, since women are most vulnerable to the temptation to feel victimized. In classic Leftist form, ‘Superior white woman nobly campaigns for poor Indian woman, teaching Indian to feel victimized by doll’s dress.’
These modern Leftist campaigns for Indian causes are as devastating to Indians as the historic military campaigns of George Armstrong Custer. Leftists pretend to honor Indians, while destroying any respect America may hold for us, and any we hold for ourselves.
Leftists, assaulting any cherished aspect of Americana, here decry the beloved Indian-style clothing, presuming Indians are harmed by it. McCormack wants Barbies dressed like modern Indian women in modern professions. The doll’s traditional Native dress is unfairly limiting, she claims. “It’s a stereotyped toy,” she said, and as a reinforcement of false ideas of “nativeness,” the doll’s Indian dresses are as dangerous as bows and arrows, tepees and totem poles.
It sounds like McCormack doesn’t want Indians to be Indian.
The Indian Barbie dress is the woman’s counterpart to the men’s Indian warrior mascot controversy. With academic sophistry, McCormack strikes race and gender issues in one fell swoop. Now, if we’re to believe McCormack, anything symbolizing Indians is evil. Anything that a non-Indian can pick up, see, wear, or imitate, as “Indian,” is degrading to real Indian people. McCormack thinks a doll dressed in traditional Indian clothes is psychologically crippling to modern American Indians, leaving us incapable of social progress in modern America.
McCormack thinks Indians are dependent on dolls’ clothing for our identity. McCormack believes Indians cannot think independently. She apparently believes Indians have no will, and no vision, and therefore, Indians are safe only in the arms of career Leftist Indian lovers, most of whom are white females, like her.
Susan Berry, Curator of Ethnology at the Provincial Museum of Alberta, thinks the traditional Indian dress is an improper focus of museums, and that curators should include items which reflect Indians in modern life.
So, an Indian in a three-piece business suit belongs in a museum? Are Indians just historical artifacts for display, no matter what we wear? Leftists here belie their own prejudice, beyond anything the KKK could ever articulate.
I didn’t hear anyone object to the fabulous display of traditional Indian dress paraded before the world at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
Indian dress and dance are precious to everyone.
At our modern pow-wows Indians don’t come together to wear Ralph Lauren (even if we could afford to). We don’t come together to show off new auto-mechanic tools, or new vacuum cleaners. We come together to display our traditional Indian clothing, dance, and music.
Modern Indian pow-wows are often competitive. At these supreme social events, there’s often prize money awarded the best buckskin dress, and the best dancer
Magazines like Whispering Wind (www.whisperingwind.com), one of the more authentic Indian journals, featured an entire article (Vol.31 No.4) on making jingle cones for jingle dresses. Wind focuses on traditional dress and customs.
But white women like McCormack and Berry want Barbie stripped of her Native dress. Ironically, in her Alberta University bio, McCormack claims she’s interested in “how Aboriginal peoples represent their cultures and histories and draw upon their traditions to maintain their distinctive identities in today’s world.”
How does an Indian Barbie in a lawyer’s suite help maintain our distinctive identity?
Well, if that Indian lawyer persuaded Mattel to share the profits of Native Barbie with real Indians, it might. Tribes might invest in Indian schools, in abuse recovery programs, better healthcare, and most importantly, in economic development and independence.
But no dress, no dollars. Leftists like McCormack are always content to lament, and worse, happy to take away opportunities for Indian people to cash in on all these so-called abuses.