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Burden Basket Activity

The Lenape wove large baskets, and used them to carry firewood and foods that they had gathered.  The baskets hung on their backs from a band that went around the forehead or over the shoulders,  This band was called a tumpline.


  • Cereal box painted light or dark brown with top trimmed off
  • Strip of material or ribbon, 2-3 inches wide
  • Beads, colored macaroni, shells, yarn
  • Hold puncher
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Markers or paint


  1. Punch hole in each side panel of the box about 3" from the top edge.
  2. Thread the ends of the strip of material through the two holes.
  3. Tie a knot inside the box to attach it to both sides. (It should be long enough to ride easily across the forehead or shoulders.)
  4. Decorate the basket with markets or paint.
  5. Pole holes along the edges and corners
  6. Using yarn or string, tie (or glue) on beads, macaroni and other decorations


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Revised: June 29, 2014 .