1997 32¢ Plains Indian
Classic American Dolls
Issue Date: July 28, 1997
City: Anaheim, CA
Printed By: Sterling Sommer for Ashton-Potter (USA) Ltd
Printing Method: Lithographed
Perforations: 10.9 x 11.1
Victor Hugo, the 19th-century French writer, once remarked, “In the same way birds make a nest of anything, children make a doll of no matter what.” Such is true of the dolls crafted by the early Native American tribes. The first dolls made by the Sioux and other Plains Indians began as simple shapes cut from rawhide and stuffed with buffalo fur.
The doll’s dress was made from tanned deerskin and decorated with glass beads to resemble those worn by that tribe. Occasionally a child might attach some of her own long hair to the doll. Through time, as traded goods such as beads, fabric, and other sewing notions became available, the dolls grew more elaborate. Sewn with painstaking detail, these playthings also helped a young girl learn how to make household objects. During the late 1800s, Plains Indians began making the beaded buckskin dolls to sell to tourists. Usually purchased as toys for non-Indian children, these souvenirs eventually became collector’s items.