The Continuing Adventures of Kaya, the Nez Perce American D

Kaya, the First, now has friends.  Yep, they’re multiplying.  There’s Kaya, the Second, who was requested by Granddaughter #1 and a cute representative of the Cherokee nation (not of the American Doll line) belonging to Granddaughter #3. These gals of ours love their dollies.  Must be genetic!?

Last year, Kaya, the First, found a home.  A homemade home but home nonetheless.  The   Queen of Doll Givers decided that over a $100 for teepee was a bit much, especially considering that there were 4 additional future mommies who might need the same thing.  (The Queen has since decided that each family gets a teepee, not each girl. Ahem.)

But Kaya and company did need transportation to get from their respective villages to wherever little Indian girls choose to go.  Therefore, horses were chosen as the cheapest best, not to mention, traditional mode of moving about.  Again, the American Doll company’s price tag for said conveyance was budget-busting, so alternative choices were considered.  Wally World won out…best price, best looking…but…they had plastic saddles. Alas no Indian-style saddles were available.

So the horse who-has-no-name found his place under the Christmas tree with a promise to make an Indian saddle with the help of its new owner.

Once the holiday dust settled and The Queen aka Meemaw had her wits about her, last year teepee remnants were retrieved, hit the internet for research and called the proud owner of the substitute steed to come over to assist in Saddlemaking 101.


So far, we have accomplished putting  a beaded saddle blanket together, along with a furry throw-over-the-saddle thing that looks authentic but probably isn’t (according to  research).  And also Kaya got a really nice necklace out the afternoon. Plus, we got one on one time that is rare!!  Win. Win.

However, we’re having trouble deciding how to proceed on the saddle frame, which was traditionally made of cottonwood saplings and the saddle horns made of elk or deer antlers.  Then a cushion made of buckskin and stuffed with grass or buffalo hair was made to make a ride on the saddle bearable!  Yikes!


Photo courtesy of the Nez Perce National Historic Park.

Photo courtesy of the Nez Perce National Historic Park.

And, I have to say, American Doll does do their research up right.  The saddle shown in their catalog of accessories for Kaya is exactly what Nez Perce Indian women rode back in the day.  Well, maybe not “exactly” but pretty darned close. And the woman did hang the cradleboards from the saddle horn with baby getting a great view of whatever trip was in store for him.  (We haven’t attempted the doll and cradleboard yet, but I think it’s a solid possibility?!)

This is what we’re going for…from the American Doll catalog:

American Doll Indian saddle


This is an antique Nez Perce woman’s saddle:

Nez Perce woman's saddle

And here’s a really old photograph that show lots and lots of detail on the horse’s entire get-up not to mention the classic garments worn by the unidentified woman.  Pretty fancy!


Photo courtesy of the Nez Perce National Historic Park.


Here’s what we have so far:

Kaya and her horse who-has-no-name's saddle blanket

Kaya wearing her new necklace and her horse who-has-no-name’s saddle blanket



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