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Oklahoma Indian Doll

This is a photograph of an old Native American doll purchased in Duncan, Oklahoma. It is thought to date back to the early 1900's.

Our volunteers suspect this doll is Kiowa because of the design of the dress and boots. The very wide square sleeves with rows of elk teeth or cowrie shells (represented by white beads on this doll) are typical of Kiowa women's clothing, such as this dance outfit or this dress from the1800's. Elk's teeth and cowrie shells were common decorations on women's clothing in many Plains Indian tribes, but the horizontal rows of them and the wide sleeve style are especially typical of Kiowa clothing. Also, the remaining boot of this doll resembles traditional Kiowa boots, with thin strips of beadwork around the ankles and up the front (like this.) Additionally, during the late 1800's, the area that is now Duncan, Oklahoma was then part of the Comanche-Kiowa Indian territory, so the doll would not have had far to travel.

It is also possible that the doll is Cheyenne or Arapaho, since the wide sleeve design was sometimes also used by those tribes. Cheyenne and Arapaho dolls were usually much more heavily beaded though (see this Arapaho doll or this Cheyenne doll-- notice their boots in particular.)

If anyone has more information about this artwork, please contact the owner. Thank you!

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