Drum

Baby Carrier

Baby carrier made of hide with light-blue piping along closure edges

Closes with four hide laces. Hide strap beaded in a red, blue and green floral design.

As a semi-nomadic people, Southern Tutchone women would have had to carry their babies long distances. It was necessary to build and design proper carriers. Mothers rarely allowed young children to wander freely around camp. In fact, most babies were swaddled, placed in hammocks, or left in their carriers. Babies spent so much time in their carriers that the carriers had to be both comfortable and supportive.

This Southern Tutchone style baby carrier is a prime example of good design and ingenuity. It contains a stiff birch bark lining which is folded and sewn into a seat. The seat supported much of the baby's weight while a tanned hide case fitted around the birch bark center to keep the baby in place. The hide was carefully cut and sown to enclose the baby's suspended legs. To fit the baby snuggly, the carrier's hide is laced and tied securely in several spots along the front. A wide strap attached to either side of the carrier was worn across the shoulders with the baby pouch resting in the middle of the back. The baby, nestled snuggly in the carrier, was lifted on the mothers back with the baby facing out allowing the child to see out into the world. In the olden days a round pouch decorated by the mother would be attached to the outer carrying case, the small pouch would house the umbilical cord. This baby carrier was intended for small infants, although carriers were made for young children in all stages of growth. As the child grew simple straps would help hold the weight of the child as they clung to the backs of their mother.

Institution

Kluane Museum of History, Burwash Landing

Accession Number

1975.12

rollover rollover