John D. Hunter as an infant of two or three years was kidnapped about 1797 by Indians and then lived for most of his childhood and young manhood with the Kansas and Osage tribes, West of the Mississippi. He returned to white society in 1816 when he was 19 years old. Seven years later, after he had learned to read and write, his Memoirs of a Captivity among the Indians of North America was published in Philadelphia (1823). This narrative contains detailed, first-hand descriptions of many aspects of Indian life in the Midwest during the early part of the nineteenth century.
He described the infant and child rearing practices of Indian mothers as follows:
Their infants, wrapped in skins, are secured with belts to a small thin piece of board placed along the back. As they grow older, should the weather be mild, the skins are removed altogether, and no other dresses are substituted for them, except in very cold weather, till near the period of puberty.
When traveling, the mother places the board to which the infant is secured on her back, and supports it in this manner for the whole distance of the journey. While resting, or at work, she suspends it perpendicularly from the side of her lodge, the arm of a tree, or a post she has erected for the purpose. She administers food to it when she thinks it is hungry, disregards its crying, and seldom unbinds and soothes it to rest, except when she herself retires for sleep.