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Native American Cherokee Made Red Fox Cradleboard
The first cradleboard is often made after the child is born. The father is very careful in the construction of the cradleboard because of the belief that a mistake in the construction could cause the child to be born impaired. An infant is the most precious of all gifts.
Monster Slayer and Born of Water, the twin hero gods of the Navajo, are represented by the two back supports. The father binds these two slats together by drilling holes in them and lacing them with buckskin. He then constructs the footrest, and this too is attached by drilling and lacing it to the back supports. The footrest represents Mother Earth and is a constant reminder that it is on Her that we spend our lives. The back supports and the footrest are traditionally made of juniper, the head protector of oak. The head protector represents the rainbow and is also a very practical form of protection. The baby is secured to the cradleboard with laced thongs. Buckskin thongs were originally used because it was believed that the child would develop the same attributes as the deer and therefore would be wise, agile and quick. The lacings represent power, lightning and sun rays. Warmth will generate from the child because of these lacings. The cradleboard is not only a practical convenience but also symbolizes the love of a mother for her child. The medicine wheel is placed above the child’s head to keep the child safe from sickness and harm.
This particular cradleboard is a style that would be used in the winter. The fur around the head and the fur lining is designed to keep the baby warm. Leather color, fur, feathers and decoration will vary.