First Nations baby baskets cosy and practical

This may be peculiar to my family, but when my boys were babies, they looked alike.

This may be peculiar to my family, but when my boys were babies, they looked alike.

They don’t now, but in  some of their first  pictures   I wouldn’t know who was who  if it wasn’t  for  their clothes or the backgrounds, and they each  had different kinds of  beds or carriers.

Our youngest son had the best of all bed/carriers, a First Nations baby basket.  He spent his first months in it.

You don’t see these baskets much these days, more’s the pity.  If I had more space I’d explain just how great  they are.

They are narrow, made of woven willow branches. Mine was lined in sheepskin  and covered in a bright cotton print.

It had a buckskin attachment to  lace baby in  during transport, and straps for carrying it like a back pack or for suspending it from something (like a hook in the  ceiling) so baby was at eye level for socializing.

It had a wooden hoop  over the middle for holding a blanket or mosquito net.  It was a great carrier for camping or travelling (no car seat rules then.) Unfortunately, I loaned it to a neighbour and never got it back.

Son #1 remembered how handy the basket was and he wanted one for his first born.

By then they were hard to come by, but we managed to get one.

His wife wasn’t overly enthusiastic, she’d never seen one before and she had a cradle and crib ready.

However,  when son went to fetch her and baby from the hospital, he took the basket. Baby (GS#2) made it clear from the start that was where he wanted to be and  he slept and travelled in it until he outgrew it.

Ditto his sister, GD#2.

GD#2‘s  brand new son (GGS#3)  inherited  the basket.

Re-covered,  it’s as good as new. He  too knows  a good thing. According to his mom, he loves  it.

Diana French is a freelance columnist for the Tribune. She is a former Tribune editor, retired teacher, historian, and book author.


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