National Doll produced to represent a 'typical' Canadian First Nations person. This doll was sent to Monica Gates in 1960 by an Aunt who lived on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. British Columbia is home to 203 First Nations and approximately 30 different tribal groupings, and in 2006 had an estimated indigenous population of 196,000, about 4.6% of the total population in British Columbia. First Nations women in British Columbia generally wore tunics or dresses, moccasins and leggings. Beading and other decoration was common and varied according to grouping and social status. Jewellery was also often worn. Woven hats were a common form of headwear for both men and women, particularly in coastal areas where rain was common during the winter.

The Gates collection contains 170 national dolls from 74 different countries and some correspondence relating to the acquisition of several of the dolls. The costumes of the dolls represent national costumes from the 19th Century to the 1990s. Monica Gates collected or was given these dolls between 1957 and 1990.

These dolls were purchased as souvenirs of particular countries and like many mass produced souvenirs they are often not accurate representations of a particular country or region, and may actually better reflect neighbouring counties or regions. This occurs because costumes are often stylised and simplified resulting dolls wearing generic costume elements which are common to many countries/regions. Often the fabrics and decorations used are selected to make the dolls cheap and easy to manufacture and aesthetically pleasing. This can result in the fabrics, colours and decorations of the doll's clothing having little or no reflection of the costume associated with a particular country or region they are meant to be representative of.

Physical Description

Female Canadian doll with her hair in two plaits, one on each side of her head, with decorative hair ties on each. She has a green leather head band which matches her clothing. She has a black leather costume with green trimmings and bands of decorative beading. Her eyes open and close and she has an open mouth. The head, arms and legs all move.

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