by Amy

This doll is inspired by Native American author Zitkala Sa, who was raised on a Sioux reservation before being deceived into leaving her home and forced into Western culture. Throughout her life, she stood alone and her face shows the nobility and pride of her heritage and the strain of the domineering struggle of her environment. Her costume reflects the two environments forced together to create one identity: the soft kindness of her youth and the unfeeling domineering of her Western caretakers. The headdress, a Sioux symbol of the most powerful and influential tribe member, is created with gothic-inspired metalwork where there should be colorful, tribal-patterned beadwork. Attached to the headdress are tear-shaped ornaments, which represent the seeds from the apple orchards that tempted her away from her home, and the tears that doing so caused. Keeping with tradition, a feather is added for each brave act—hers has 54 feathers, one for each year she lived alienated from both her tribe and “civilized” society. Her eyes show the emotional power needed to do so, and the pain of estrangement.

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Copyright © 2011 Marina Bychkova.