Dakonaagan (Cradleboards)

Cradleboards are a traditional Native American method mothers used to safely carry their infants in a way that allowed them to freely use their hands. Children are tightly swaddled to feel secure and fuss less and cradleboards help cultivate good posture. Cradleboards can show kinship and be passed through communities as gifts.

Cradleboard Gallery

This beautiful cradleboard was made by Biskakone Greg Johnson and Alexandria Sulainis of Lac du Flambeau for their son, Baswewe.

A row of flowers in the Woodland art style by Neebin Southall

Cradleboard Sentences


The following sentences were written at the 15th Annual Language and Culture Camp in Manistee, Michigan for a workshop led by Judy Pamp.

You can listen/download the complete audio or listen to each section as you go along. Reading by Christy Bieber. [coming soon]

1. Apane igo ogii-inaabajitoonaawaan dakonaaganan Anishinaabeg.
Always (in the past) they used the holding things Anishinaabe people.
The people have always used cradleboards.
2. Bebakaan igo gemaa daa-ezhi-ozhitoonaawaan dakonaaganan.
Different very maybe they would make them cradleboards.
Cradleboards could be made in many different ways.
3. Mii gaa- ezhichigewaad Anishinaabeg minogi’aawaad abinoojiinyensan
So this they did the people to raise them well the babies.
This is what they people did to raise a baby well.
4. Dakonaaganing abinoojiinyensan babaamiwizh’aawaad.
In the cradleboard babies are carried around by them.
They carried the babies around in the cradleboard.
5. Gaye gaa-ezhichigewaad mii wii-noondaagenid, waabanjigenid miinawaa ani-gikendaasonid epiichi zaagi’igaazonid
Also they did this so they will hear, see, and learn while they are loved.
This also was done so babies would see things, hear things and learn while being loved by someone.
6. Mii gaa- bi- ezhi- bimaadiziwaad.
So (past) here the way they lived.
So this is how they lived.
7. Abinoojiinyensan gii-ganawenjigaazowan epiichi ayaanid dakonaaganing.
The baby was cared for while being in the cradleboard.
The baby was cared for while in the cradleboard.
8. Mitigoonsan ogii- waaganaawaan ji-dakonaaganikewaad.
Sticks (past) they bent them to make a cradleboard.
They bent sticks to make a cradleboard.
9. Ogii-aabajitoonaawaan asigobaan, wiigwaas miinawaa giizhik ji-dakonaaganikewaad.
They used basswood, birchbark and cedar to make the cradleboard.
They used basswood, birchbark and cedar to make the cradleboard.
10. Nanigodinong ogii- mazinibiidoonaawaan.
Sometimes (past) they decorated it.
Sometimes they decorated it.
11. Niigaan-inaabiwan ogaman megwaa abinoojiinyensan azheyaa-inaabinid.
Forward looking the mother while the baby backward looking.
As the mother is looking forward, the baby is looking back.

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