Published on March 17, 2014 by Amy
With 564 federally recognized tribes in the United States alone, finding the perfect Native American baby gift poses a challenge. Before delving in, first consider your own community. Many reservations sell one-of-a-kind handmade clothing, blankets, jewelry, arts, and crafts.
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Regardless of where you choose to shop, purchase the item from a Native American retailer to ensure authenticity. When shopping online, keep in mind that most Native artisans openly state their tribal affiliation and location.
If you decide to shop at a non-Native trading post or jewelry store, check the item for the artisan’s name and tribal affiliation. If unsure, ask the clerk for details. Most retailers know the individuals who sell items on consignment at their store.
Whether you purchase a gift for a Native American baby or any cutie in general, a wool blanket with a Native American design will surely please mom, and keep baby cozy and warm. To personalize, have the baby’s name and date of birth embroidered on the blanket.
In addition to earrings and rings, bracelets have grown in popularity over the years. The Navajo, in particular, make stunning silver and turquoise bracelets. Whether you choose one with a turquoise inlay or a stunning silver storyteller bracelet, mom will appreciate this easy-to-wear treasure. And when baby grows up, she can pass it down to her daughter or granddaughter.
Numerous North American tribes share the cradle board tradition. In precolonial days, this allowed mom to work and travel with baby in tow. While most parents have transitioned to modern cradles and strollers, others find that cradle boards offer a safe and secure way to lay baby down for a nap.
Each tribe has a unique story and cradle board design. For example, the Sioux Indians of the plains tediously craft intricate designs on buckskin or cloth using tiny beads. The Navajo fuse a piece of turquoise on the left of the cradle board for a boy, and a white shell on the right for a girl—less elaborate, but beautiful in its simplicity.
Navel fetishes, also known as birth amulets, keep a baby’s umbilical safe and secure. In the plains Indian tradition, the mother places the pouch on the cradle board above the baby’s head. At a later age, the child wears it around his neck or attached to clothing. Artisans design the finely beaded pouches in the shape of a lizard for a boy and turtle for a girl. The amulet brings the baby good luck.
Regardless of use, this gift keeps the umbilical cord preserved, and the mother-child connection alive.
Handmade baby moccasins make a cute gift for any baby. Whether you purchase a pair already beaded or plain, this gift makes the perfect keepsake. A non-beaded pair makes a nice gift for the unborn baby, as the parents can choose their own design at a later date.
Move over jewelry, great baby gifts made of silver and precious stones come in the form of rattles, cups and spoons. To personalize, have the baby’s name and date of birth engraved on the item.