He’s everywhere. You can’t even blink anymore without seeing the silhouette of Baby Yoda behind your eyelids, sipping something from that mug. It’s like he’s imprinted on the whole public consciousness, or at least on the minds of those who use the internet and/or watch television.
He’s also made his way into the art world now, where Nalakwsis — a Cree, two-spirit artist from Whapmagoostui, Que. — has created their own interpretation of Baby Yoda, one that’s inspired by Indigenous culture and history.
“I’ve seen so many different versions and fan art of Baby Yoda, and I wanted to get in on all of that because he is so adorable,” Nalakwsis told HuffPost Canada.
Nalakwsis’ version of Baby Yoda, who goes by the moniker the Child in Disney Plus’ “Star Wars” series “The Mandalorian,” sees him not in his familiar shearling coat, but wrapped up in a moss bag: a traditional child-rearing item that many Indigenous peoples have historically used to carry their babies.
Prior to European contact and the ensuing forced assimilation policies, the moss bag had a vital role in First Nations family life. Traditionally, children have been swaddled and laced up in moss bags — which have disinfectant properties that serve as diapers — and then secured to a thin wooden cradleboard.
Those boards are often intricately decorated, smudged with prayers and songs, colourful embroidery, beadwork, shells, stitching, and many other good thoughts meant to carry meaning or imbue protection. They were either carried in parents’ arms, worn on the mother’s back during travel, propped against the ground as a baby chair, or secured to a sled for long journeys.
“There have been a few artists drawing their cultural tradition outfits onto Baby Yoda,” Nalakwsis says. “I thought it was cool to see Indigenous folk adopt him into their culture, and I wanted to do the same thing for the Cree Nation.”
Watch: How to make Baby Yoda into a Christmas cookie. Story continues below.
A number of Indigenous artists and creators have turned their eyes to Baby Yoda.
“There’s this huge allegory between the Force and Indigenous belief systems,” Twyla Barker, president of Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College in Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in central North Dakota, told CBC News of the “Star Wars” franchise.
“It’s almost relatable. We kind of have this affinity for the Force because there’s a lot of relationships or ties between Indigenous mindsets and that whole storytelling arc.”
This connection, Barker said, is often probed through humour and fun, and Baby Yoda has been adopted as part of it.
Adam Sings In The Timber, an Apsáalooke (Crow) documentary photographer and filmmaker, contributed a “Baby Crowda” to what he called the “Native Baby Yoda movement,” while Dani Lanouette, who runs the Anishinaabe meme account @TheBandOffice, recently started incorporating Baby Yoda into memes about her own life.
Now, there are beaded Baby Yoda earrings made by Jana Schmieding, a Lakota Sioux writer, performer, activist and education consultant. There are a number of paintings and illustrations. There are T-shirts. There are patches.
And of course, there’s a Twitter thread of memes, just to ensure that, even if you haven’t watched a single episode of “The Mandalorian,” you can still fall in love with Baby Yoda.