Threads of Time: Tradition and Change in Indigenous American Textiles

Dulemola (Blouse Panel) with the Trix™ Cereal Rabbit



Dulemola (Blouse Panel) with the Trix™ Cereal Rabbit


Commercial products, such as the Trix™ cereal rabbit mascot which debuted in 1959, have crept into contemporary dulemola creativity. The icon of this sugary children’s cereal was a trickster figure always trying to steal the cereal from children and hence the well-known tag line: “Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids!” In one 1970s commercial, the rabbit dresses up as a stereotypical “Indian” to try and get cereal from the children, which would be considered inappropriate, and even racist, today (see Engaging the New).

If this unknown dulemola artist knew of that, making the Trix™ rabbit in an indigenous blouse panel might be a way of striking aback against rampant prejudice. If not, it was simply a piece of global popular culture that the artist found intriguing; however, in many Native American cultures rabbit figures are tricksters, like coyotes. Though portrayed as basically lazy and small, Rabbit defeats bigger and fiercer opponents using his wits (Davis and DeMello 2003, 155); thus, portraying a Western trickster rabbit could hide a subversive message about indigenous peoples outsmarting their overlords.

In any case, the rabbit is accurately rendered with its telltale oversized, floppy ears, popping eyes, and wide smile. However, it is not shown in in its usual white coloration, and the background slits are cut through its body, making it nearly transparent, as in so many Guna dulemolaguna. In and around its body are flowers or starfish, not found on the cereal box, but often appearing in Guna textiles that celebrate the tropical environment in which they are made.

Geographic Area

Central America, Guna Yala (San Blas Islands/North Coast of Panamá)




20th century



Credit Line

Anonymous loan

Accession Number


Photo Credit

Photo by Michael McKelvey, 2017

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