The Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot is actually a cradleboarded Chinook. Discuss.
November 18, 2007 10:53 AM   Subscribe

Cradleboards are North American Indian baby carriers.

Made of wood, hide, lichens, decorated with beads, tightly swaddled infants were carried around for upto a year in cradleboards.
Certain boards led to cranial flattening, occipetal lesions and other unpleasantries.

Here are some pictures and links:

What is a cradleboard?
A poster explaining a Navajo cradleboard. You may order this: call (928) 674-9400.
Navajo storyteller dolls and cradleboards.
William Clark (of L&C fame) drew this picture of infant Clatsops with headboards.
1 2 3 4 photogravures from the Edward S. Curtis gallery.
Kiowa cradleboards. (from the awesome NCM)
The Deupree collection at Red Earth.
Sacagawea and Jean-Baptiste. The Golden Dollar depicts her with a sling.
The UoO Collections and an engraving from UoW.
Two Apache cradleboards and one inside a tipi.
Paiute (2), Ute, Ojibwa, Comanche, Mono, Papoose, Abenaki, Algonquin, Shoshone, Achomawi and some more.


An interview with Sandra Eagle, basket maker. See also Vanessa Jennings, who repairs boards.
Here's a Tuvan and a Lappish board.
An 'Orthodontic Cradleboard' was patented in 1971.
This paper speaks of an Early Bronze Age Cypriot cradleboard. (Dr. Lorentz's page has some sweet papers too.)
Here's one - wrongly labeled - on CL.

41052, the only other cradleboard Mefi fpp is mostly borked; here's the archive.

Many of these images are parts of some excellent online galleries. Hack the URLs for some photos made of yum.
posted by sushiwiththejury (11 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
note to marit: pls send one giant anteater cradleboard kthxbi
posted by sushiwiththejury at 10:55 AM on November 18, 2007

Wow. The Snugli so ripped those off.
posted by mccarty.tim at 11:10 AM on November 18, 2007

What an amazing collection! Thank you for sharing!
posted by headspace at 12:02 PM on November 18, 2007

Excellent post and beautiful images. Thanks!
posted by Lynsey at 12:51 PM on November 18, 2007

For those unfamiliar with the esoterica of Bigfootery, the title of the post refers to a theory that Patty was Cradleboarded.
posted by Tube at 2:01 PM on November 18, 2007

I've seen cradleboards just like the one in the first picture in use. Since then, I've wondered if using a cradleboard for infants causes children to sit still more than being active when they are older.
posted by yohko at 2:42 PM on November 18, 2007

What the...?
posted by drinkcoffee at 5:23 PM on November 18, 2007

drinkcoffee's link is NSFW.

Rest assured that there are no cradleboards in the picture.
posted by yohko at 7:13 PM on November 18, 2007

My husband was kept in a cradleboard when he was a baby. His parents didn't flip him over often enough, so he developed a flat spot a few inches wide on the back of his head.

He can lie down comfortably on a floor, but turning his head side to side when he does so is kind of painful. The edges of the flat spot are like corners.

They're neat devices, but if you're thinking of using a cradleboard, flip your baby frequently. Or name them Phillip, so they have an endless supply of flathead vs. Phillips' head jokes at their disposal.
posted by MrVisible at 8:43 PM on November 18, 2007 [1 favorite]

My mom's family grew up on an Apache reservation and my aunt has a lovely collection of cradleboards, some real, some doll-sized, hanging on her wall.

I always thought about those when I wore my own children in slings, soft carriers, or backpacks.

Some cradleboards were designed to reshape the baby's head on purpose. I want to say this was an Iroquois tradition, but I can't remember for sure.
posted by padraigin at 9:28 PM on November 18, 2007

I was born on the rez and was placed in sort of a wall-to-wall sling back at the house. (I have a picture of it.) One month later I managed to fall right out of it and onto my head from five feet up.

After I came home from the hospital I was given my own crib.

This is wehre I say ther was no bermanent pramage.
posted by unixrat at 11:03 PM on November 18, 2007

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