Baby carrier with model baby, Sioux Indians, United States, 1880-1920
Babies were often carried strapped to their mother’s backs in Native American communities. It was made by the Sioux Indians of the Great Plains region of North America. Baby carriers were usually made by women. Intricate beading reinforced the distinct ethnic identity of their tribe. This one is made of animal hide stretched and stitched over a frame. It has red, yellow, white and blue beading. On the reverse is a leather strap to hold the carrier in place on the mother’s back. The child was secured within a pouch by hide strips criss-crossing up the front like a shoelace. It was protected from the rain or sun by a small woven wooden hood tied under its chin. A removable beaded strap hung across the child’s chest either for amusement or as a toy.
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