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Native Americans
Native American Dolls



Native American Dolls
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.32

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    buckskin, reflection, well-loved, culture, northwest, longhouses, legend, easily, spans, interesting, tribe, livestock, daily, different, goods, kinds
     content words:    Native Americans, Native American, United States, New York, Iroquois Confederacy, Great Lakes, Arctic Circle, New Mexico


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Native American Dolls
By Colleen Messina
  

1     Every culture has different kinds of dolls. Native Americans didn't have Barbies, but they did have beautiful dolls. Dolls from each tribe looked quite different, but they were all well-loved by everyone in the tribe. These amazing creations out of bark, corn husks, and leather also helped preserve Indian culture.
 
2     Many kinds of Native American dolls were made in different parts of the United States. One tribe called the Seminole people lived in the swamplands of Florida. These swamps were also called the Everglades. This tribe called themselves the "free people," and they survived by hunting, trapping, and fishing. Today, they live on reservations and sell goods like their special dolls to tourists. These dolls help the tribe make a living.
 
3     The Seminole dolls were made out of small palm trees called palmettos. The Native Americans used to cut the bark and use it for the head and body of the doll. Then, they added patchwork clothing in bright colors and patterns to dress the doll. A long time ago, the dolls had buckskin leggings under their skirts, but today they have pants. The lady dolls had a little cape, a rounded black hat, and earrings. The cape kept her warm in winter and cool in summer.
 
4     Other tribes used different materials for their dolls. In what is now the state of New York, the Seneca people are one tribe in the Iroquois Confederacy, and they made dolls out of something surprising: corn husks. Seneca means "people of the big hill." These people lived in longhouses that held many families. They grew many crops, but they called corn, beans, and squash the "three sisters" because they ate those foods more than anything else.

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