Springtime in n'Daki Menan, the Homeland of the Teme-Augama Anishnabai: Babies, Cradleboards and Community Wrapping

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Nahwegahbow, Alexandra Kahsenniio




This is a study of how the tikinaagan (cradleboard) as an object related to pre-colonial Indigenous childcare can be metaphorically investigated as a model for traditional social frameworks that illustrate the central place and role of babies and young people within Anishinaabe families and communities. Through this, I approach the ornamentation and arrangement of a small cradleboard collected by Frank Speck in the early-twentieth century during his visit to the territory of n'Daki Menan in northeastern Ontario. By exploring the historical context in which this cradleboard was created, used, and collected I address the gaps in the early literature where the Indigenous voice and value placed on these objects were disregarded or overlooked. I argue that cradleboards, through their stylistic design and contextual power, have the ability to communicate traditional knowledge and values of parenting, family and community across generations to present day.


Art History
Native American Studies




Carleton University

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Master of Arts: 

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Art History

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Theses and Dissertations

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