Join me in asking Mattel to create the first Cree Barbie.
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My name is Sonya Ballantyne and I am a Swampy Cree filmmaker and writer originally from Misipawistik Cree Nation in Northern Manitoba. I was recently named one of the 60 Canadian female role models chosen by Mattel to celebrate Barbie's 60th birthday throughout 2019.
I am a vocal advocate for positive Indigenous representation in media as I spent the majority of my life not seeing a person who looked like me on TV. Through my work, I strive to change this so the next generation of Indigenous nerds like me have that person that looks like them. This was also why I accepted Mattel's amazing honour to be considered one of their role models. If a little girl from a reserve could see herself accomplishing her dreams because she saw me do it, of course I'll do it.
As I shared the news of being named a Barbie Role Model, I had many little Indigenous girls (and some women) ask me when they could get MY Barbie. A facebook comment on a Barbie post with my picture requested: "Make a doll of her! First Nations dolls are SO hard to find" and added when someone mentioned there were a lot of vintage Native dolls: " I don’t really want to spend a bunch on vintage dolls for a four year old, though. And I shouldn’t have to just to get my kid a doll that looks like her."
I ask Mattel and Barbie to create the first Cree Barbie doll to reflect the faces of a group of girls (and boys) that may never have seen themselves in a Barbie. Not seeing yourself has such a negative impact on one's self esteem and it is my wish that my generation of Indigenous girls is the last one to experience that loneliness.
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