The Gleaner
Arts & LifeSharing Our Stories

Sharing Our Stories: For Ada

Story told by: Joe Jacobs
Written by: Melissa Stacey, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Translation by: Katsenhaién:ton Lazare

The cradleboard that I made for my granddaughter Ada was my first one. I didn’t make it fancy because I tried to make it more of a traditional style.

I was inspired to make this cradleboard seeing that my grandmother and great aunt had also used one.


Joes great aunt Warisose Marquis is resting on the cradleboard made for her while her sister Joes grandmother Konwanentáwi Marquis stands to her left Their parents Pierre Kanatase Marquis left and Anne Konwarakwenni Williams right pose next to them PHOTO Courtesy of Joe Jacobs


It’s made of pine and the handle is hickory. I made the template for the cushion and moss bag and brought it to a friend for sewing.

A moss bag is used to wrap babies in their cradleboards to keep them dry. There’s a type of  moss that babies wouldn’t get a rash from because of the medicine in it.


Joe displays the cradleboard he crafted for his granddaughter PHOTO Emma McLaughlin


Julie Brown did the painting. I told her that I wanted bears, strawberries, and blueberries. Onawa is of the bear clan, so on the board is a mother bear and her two cubs, Max and Ada.

The bird life painted on the cradleboard reflects some of the bird life that come to visit and feed at Onawa’s because she’s always feeding them.


Back of the cradleboard painted by artist Julie Brown PHOTO Emma McLaughlin


There was an eagle that passed over our house so maybe something was guiding Julie when she did the painting.

My daughter Onawa will have a story for Ada later on that her Baba made this for her when she was a baby.

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