Today, the last day of November, is the last day of National Native American Heritage Month. Kaya is one of my favorite dolls and I think one of the most important characters in the American Girl collection. I love that American Girl spent five years developing her, working closely with Nez Perce leaders and historians. Everything about Kaya is so unique: her facemold, her collection, the fact that she doesn’t have pajamas (I’ve heard people complain about this, but a Nez Perce girl in the 1760s would not exactly have worn a lace nighty to bed…or anything to bed, for that matter).
Kaya is also unique because she is the only Beforever doll who also has a collection of modern outfits. I think creating modern pow-wow outfits is not only a fabulous way of expanding Kaya’s wardrobe, but a great way to have a doll that not only represents history, but represents culture, too. Kaya beautifully connects now with then. She reminds us that Native Americans have tradition that is rooted in heritage and history, but also are leaders, visionaries, and innovators of today.
For this reason, Kaya is my only historical doll who is allowed to be modern sometimes (but only in her modern pow-wow outfits–no other modern clothes). Otherwise all of my historical dolls stay true to their time period and character. I know that I am a bit unusual for having such strict rules for my collection, but that is just how I like to play. 🙂
Just like Kaya’s historical deerskin outfits, her modern outfits are accurate and meaningful. They should never be referred to as “costumes” either–they are outfits or regalia (I looked up some etiquette info when making plans to attend a pow-wow a while back–something you should definitely do before you go) . Her jingle dancer outfit and fancy shawl outfits are each worn for particular styles of dance.
I really enjoy taking pictures of Kaya, maybe the most out of any of my dolls. Today, celebrating Native American Heritage Month, I thought I would share with you some of my favorites.