Monday, October 3, 2011

Mixis and the Kids Who Had the Hardest Time

I was very happy to discover the Mixis dolls by YNU Group. For one thing, each had a distinct face. For another they were believably shaped. And, you guessed it, they can stand on their own, especially the Limited Edition dolls with the leather zip up boots, wish I could afford boots like that. I know high school girls Do wear skirts that short or shorter, but I hope they don't have to bend over too far, especially in Canada or on the Northeast Coast of the U.S. in Winter. Burrrr! Maybe they wear longer coats.

I was surprised and Glad to find among the Mixis girls a doll, Emerald, who had some First Nations ancestry.

When I lived in Oklahoma among the Cherokee people there were three girls whoo were incredibly good basketball players. They were triplets, which made them even more unusual. But those girls were talked about in unflattering and cruel terms by almost everybody. Why? Because one of their parents was Native American and the other was African American. There are wonderful people in every state in the country. Yet Toni Morrison in her book "Paradise" captures the oppressive feeling I felt when livin in Oklahoma Perfectly.

Oklahoma was promised to Native peoples as a sovereign homeland forever, if they would Just give up their homes, animals, hunting lands, fishing streams, crops and gardens, and the spiritual connection they knew with all of these things. It was also promised to some African Americans, while others came as slaves of a minority of mixed blood Native people and some came because they were both Native and African American and did not wish to be separated from the rest of their families.

To the European-
Americans who claimed no ancestry but European these three girls were a curiosity and otherwise ignored. But some Cherokees referred to them as "colored" in the 1980's, and a very few called them a name not allowed in my house. The African American people assumed that the Native parent had "loose morals" was a "drunk" "lazy", etc. I'm glad they had one another and I'm glad that All three of them were good at the same sport, another bond to share.

The truth is that a lot of lying still goes on about where we come from. There are more Native Americans of mixed blood than of full blood. And the Mixes include people of more than one Native Nation, and people of all Kinds of combinations. For historical reasons many African Americans are also Native Americans. The Cherokee were complaining to the English about the slave raiding done by the English, among Cherokees in the 1700's. Later some Native people (about 20 percent of Cherokees or a bit less) actually owned slaves to work their lands. When the South lost the Civil War, these former slaves were given Native status by the Government, partly because they knew the Former Native owners would hate it and partly so that the slaves could be expelled along with their masters from land rich for farming and where Gold was found in the early 1800's.

Some run away slaves lived with and were integrated into Native Nations. Some intermarried and their children were considered Native. Some African and Native slaves intermarried and some of each group's women were "bred" by masters. For all of these complicated reasons and due to other Government schemes, many full blood Native people don't like mixed blood people with Native blood, regardless of the mix. Many African Americans are denied their Native ancestry by white and Native people alike. Many Latinos, if not most, have some Native heritage. Some call themselves Spanish, to separate themselves from their browner cousins. Due to human nature and the nature of our Government's dealing with one perceived "race" of people against another, places where all of these old grievances and tentions get mixed up, like Oklahoma, can be a MESS, especially for the children who grow up visibly mixed race in them.

Our Government has decided that some tribes, like the Homa or Houma of Louisiana, and the Tunica of that state don't exist. But Homa people couldn't send their children to Louisiana's white schools until the mid-1960's.

It didn't just happen in the South either. There are Shawnee people in Pa. Wampanoag people in Mas., and of course, the Nations of the Irroquoi in New York State. A good book to read, for those interested, is: "Mixed Blood Native Americans Who Are Not Enroled in Federally Recognized Tribes" by David Arv Bragi. He interviews people of African American and Native American ancestry, European and Native ancestry, Latino and Native ancestry. I was read this book by a blonnd haired, blue eyed friend, whose family practiced more Native customs than my own, and who had a higher degree (more) Native blood than me, although my hair and eyes are dark, and my skin is not as light as hers.

People belonging to more than one group which is perceived as undesirable often have a terrible time, especially if belonging to more than one such group is visible. At state blind school the African American blind students were often treated abnormally in their own communities as well as by European people. At blind school we were not ignorant of racial differences, as so many people want to think. But some of us just didn't care about them, we cared about how we were ttreated by all of the other kids and adults. Others of us tried to learn, or had the good fortune of being taught. One of my friends introduced me to a number of books about young girls, our ages, who were African American. One book character went to Italy and was mistaken for Italian, which began her own acceptance of herself as both black and white. Another book character went to help her black counterparts in the South. She was from a Northern city and convinced a boy she fell in love with to Go to a Northern city, while She fell in love with the black families of the rural South.

One of my favorite blues groups is J. J. Gray and Mofro, because they tend to tackle these issues head on in songs like, "Life in a Country Ghetto."

The Mixis dolls all have good faces, for the peoples they represent. I just wish there were enough sales to make More of them with Additional mixes. How do you get onto their website, anyway, I want to find out what adventures they are having and what they are learning.

To any person or tribe, if your name is spelled wrong, I cannot use my spell check while in Blogger. I use a talking computer due to blindness and it doesn't function well here. Please forgive me. I used the term "black" because that is what people chose to call themselves at the time I was hanging out and reading with black friends, and white, at blind school. I do not intend to offend anyoone.


  1. Hi Teresa! I submitted your blog post to the Mixis Facebook page. Maybe if the Mixis Facebook posters and followers become aware of the difficulty of accessing the Mixis website, they will supply a version for blind collectors.