Sunday, 12 February 2012

moss bags/baby carriers

La Loche in 1914. Mothers with babies in front of a tent with the old La Loche Church in the background. The ladies are all dressed modestly in dresses down to the ankles and buttoned to the neck. Several are wearing kerchiefs, aprons and shawls.
La Loche in 1914. Mothers in front of a tent with the old La Loche Church in the background. The babies are all in moss bags and carried with a sling over the shoulders.

Sayisi Dene near Nejanilini Lake in northern Manitoba in 1947. She is applying diapers of dried 
moss. "Moss was also used for cleaning pots and pans. Also as padding for pillows and
mattress . Dried moss for diapers was best because it never caused baby rash" (Rosie Vermillion)
Sayisi Dene near Nejanilini Lake in northern Manitoba in 1947. She has applied 
diapers of dried moss and swaddled the baby.  Baby in moss bag
Caroline Thorassie (the wife of William Thorassie), inspecting frozen chunks of moss which, when thawed, are used for diapers near Nejanilini Lake in northern Manitoba - Chipewyan/Dene - 1947

Moss was used in moss bags because it was absorbent and sterile.
Today diapers are used for the same purpose.


moss bag Northern Plains 1865-1925

moss bag Dene 1865-1900
moss bag Northern Plains 1940-60

Links:
moss (sphagnum)
moss bags

moss bag Algonquin 1865-1930
Northern Cree 1930's moss bag from Canoe Lake, Saskatchewan
A hammock was another way of keeping the baby out of harms way in a tent or a house. It's simply a blanket folded around a rope attached to the walls. An additional rope was added to sway the hammock back and forth. 
This sleeping baby is tied to the hammock with a piece of cloth. The photo was taken in La Loche around 1940.
.....read more.....Barsou or baby swing

Cree woman with moss for moss bag 1927. (location unknown)     ... link