What is Head Flattening and How did Northwest Native Americans flatten a baby’s skull?

Among many Northwest Native Americans, the most attractive feature a person could have was a sloped forehead.

To ensure their children would be beautiful, they strapped their babies into a bed called a cradle board that had a piece of wood hinged to the top. The wood applied a gentle pressure to a baby’s soft skull.

After about a year in a cradle board, the front of a baby’s skull flattened into the shape the Indians’ admired. Although disturbing to the non-Native Americans who visited the tribe, the process, known as head-flattening, was painless and had no effect on a baby’s intelligence.

The Coast Salish bred special small woolly dogs. Each spring, they shaved the dogs’ hair, spun it into yarn, and used it to weave warm woolly blankets.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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