February 25, 2008

Native horse trading cards

Bella Sara™ Trading Cards and Online World for Girls Presents Native Lights Native American–Themed Card Set and Online World AdditionsAs with all Bella Sara card sets, each horse in Native Lights can be activated online at BellaSara.com and has a message designed to support healthy self-reflection among girls. The Native Lights card set includes new horses named after Native American tribes such as Apache, Comanche, Mohawk and Shawnee, as well as thematically updated versions of the iconic Bella Sara horses Bella, Fiona, Jewel and Thunder.

New horses introduced in Native Lights include Osage, Chumash, Cheyenne and Navajo, and their animal companions, including butterfly, dolphin, eagle and snake friends. The new card set also brings new positive messages such as:

• “Be free to change your mind.” — Osage

• “Relax and ride the waves of laughter that spread joy in the world.” — Chumash

• “See the beauty in both the shadow and the light.” — Cheyenne

• “You can choose to change what you think, do, or want.” — Navajo
Comment:  Other than some minor Native decorations, the horses aren't connected to the tribes they're named after. In fact, the Chumash didn't even have horses. And the decorations aren't necessarily accurate. Cheyenne the horse carries a shield with Northwest Indian art.

Neither the animal companion nor the positive message makes the horses more Native. The lack of anything specific tying the horses to Native cultures is telling. These cards aren't about educating kids, they're about making money.

The cards' message isn't a good one for Native people. A oneness with nature and a feel-good spirituality are the essence of a New Age (mis)interpretation of Native beliefs. The cars reinforce the impression that all Native cultures were the same--i.e., pre-industrial hippie communes.

1 comment:

dmarks said...

There's been a Native - toy horse thing going on for a while. On eBay, Chief Wapasha is most commonly honored with a Breyer toy horse named after him.