In this work, Miller paints the physical, but necessary demands required of American Indian mothers as they moved through their environment. Cradleboards acted as a multi-use carrier, children could be strapped to their mothers in transit, or tied onto the saddles of horses, hung on a tree branch, or propped upright against an object. Once old enough, Miller observed, “[children] are tied on horseback in the midst of the packs, and soon learn to ride.” (Brunet, 26) Acclimating children to horses and developing their ability to ride early on in life, strengthened the tribe’s horse culture and allowed for early mastery of their major means of transportation. The close bond between the horse-centric mobility and social culture in Plains Indian society cultivated a strong nomadic lifestyle that aided them in hunting and warfare, and increased novel contact with outsiders.
Emily C. Wilson
LR: AJMiller. Pt. LR on mat: No. 19. / A Young Indian Mother, / Fording a Stream
The artist; [?]; Alexander Brown, Liverpool, England, 1867; by decent to Mrs. J.B. Jardine, Chesterknowes, Scotland; present owner by gift