We can't deny the fact that Dolls of the World were very folk sided and beautiful but rised polemics, specially when we talk about Native American Barbie Dolls.
At that time Barbie line was mainly caucasian with african-american versions in some lines, but what about the ones who were first in America? They didn't have representation at all in the "you can be whatever you want to be" world of Barbie and were relegated to Dolls of The World. So between the 80s and past the 2000s several of them were launched from the Skimo to the Navajo Princess always in a "traditional key" although many children of the 80s and 90s were descendants of Native Americans and wanted a doll who represented them in a more contemporary manner.
Furthermore, descendants of the first inhabitants of America, after all the barbarie they suffered, had their reasons to reivindicate their identity in front of all this "Hollywoodesque" image offered and the "white vision" explanations on the DOW boxes that included words like Skimo or Indian (in the American Stories Collection), both terms given by invasors or non native people, and that didn't adjust to all the many groups and tribes with their different traditions and ways of living like Inuit, Yupik, Apache, Navajo...
Without bad intention, to generalize wasn't a very sensible thing to do on Mattel's part because not all the tribes are the same. The Native American culture and the diversity among them is still an amazing topic of study on scholars part and so massive that it wouldn't be fair to talk about it without knowing thoroughly about each one of the tribes.
Pueblo cultivated cotton and wove shirts from natural fibers, the gelid land tribes invented the kayak due to their environment and not all native americans slept in tepees. Some took elements from the invaders such as glass beads for trade and adorment or horses and each had its own religious customs related to the sacredness of nature. Ultimately there were different needs that made each tribe unique depending on the terrain they lived within the vast expanse of territory that is America, once populated by many tribes but today populated by only a few.
The truth is that in the DOW world, parents have the last word on whether that will remain in what the box says or if it is a good tool to delve deeper into cultures and for each one to draw their own conclusions.