29 years, the cradleboard that his father made hung in Gary Johnson's
bedroom. He came home from the hospital in the cradleboard as a newborn,
and for 29 years, it has been a fixture of his everyday life.
As of Wednesday, the cradleboard is part
of his daughter's life, too.
Gary Johnson lives in Billings and works
as a police officer for the Bureau of Indian Affairs. At 5:30 p.m.
Monday, he and his wife, Liisa, welcomed into the world Quinley
Josephine Johnson, 7 pounds, 5 ounces.
On Wednesday, Gary's mother, Louella,
his older sister, Clarene Walters, and Liisa's mother, Joan Enger,
helped Gary and Liisa bundle Quinley in the cradleboard and leave
St. Vincent Healthcare - 29 years after Louella and the senior Gary
Johnson took baby Gary home from St. Vincent in the cradleboard.
The cradleboard was crafted with traditional
Crow beadwork and designs, Louella said. "The geometric design
is very much in the Crow style," she said. "When you look
at Crow beadwork patterns, you can't tell which is the background
beadwork and which is not. It's very three-dimensional."
cradleboard itself is also built in the traditional Crow style,
with a long backboard and leather fringe. Louella, whose grandfather
was White Man Runs Him, one of Custer's Crow scouts, said Crow would
carry the cradleboard on their backs or hang them from the pommel
of the saddle on a horse.
The elder Gary Johnson was en route from
an art show in California this week and couldn't participate in
bringing his granddaughter home. He is well-known for his beadwork
and taught at Rocky Mountain College.
A photo of Louella and Gary with baby
Gary in the cradleboard was published in The Gazette on Dec. 3,
The younger Gary Johnson plans to hang
the cradleboard in Quinley's room. He hopes that she will use it
to bring her child home someday.