Today in this modern world of philosophical theories and scientific studies of the past, exists the Anishinabek the "Original People".
I am Turtle Clan of the Ojibway and Delaware Nations. As a member of the Turtle Clan, I want to share with you a piece of the Anishinabek history and the significance of the turtle. These stories have been passed down from generation to generation. This is my story...
A long time ago, the Great Mystery anointed
the Earth with the "Original People"). They lived in serene
peace, but as time moved on they began to fight with each other
and needlessly kill the animals, they lost respect for life
God the Creator could see that the harmonious
way of life was no longer appreciated. This made him very sad, so he decided to
purify the Earth with a great flood. This flood took the lives of almost every
Only a few animals survived. They did so by
hanging onto a big log, this kept them afloat as they searched for dry land.
They searched for days but there was no land to be found.
As they sat cold and forlornly on the log, a
Sacred Being appeared to them; Nanaboozoo, he said "peace be with you, I have an
idea. I will dive into the water and swim to the bottom and grab some earth.
With a little luck and help from the Great Mystery, we could create a new earth
to live on."
Nanaboozo dove into the water and was gone
for quite a while. The animals became very concerned about him, but finally he
surfaced. He did not make it to the bottom, the water was too deep. The animals
thought if Nanaboozoo couldn't do it, it would be impossible for them. Again
with their hopes dashed, they sat forlornly on the log.
Nanaboozoo said to them, "You must live. You
must make an effort to survive." At that moment, the loon, the mink, and the
otter dove into the water in search of that small piece of earth, they could not
reach the bottom, they all failed.
All the animals began to lose hope and one
animal timidly came forward, the Muskrat, he said that he would like to try.
All the other animals laughed at him and told
him he was too small. As Muskrat was leaving, Nanaboozoo spoke up and told the
animals "only the Creator is to judge others" and he also said, "if Muskrat
wants to try he should be allowed."
Muskrat was not afraid, he looked at all his friends as he
slipped silently beneath the flood waters. The animals watched the water
anxiously and then became worried, because Muskrat was gone too long.
Unexpectedly, he rose to the surface, limp and lifeless. He gave his life trying
to reach the piece of earth they needed so badly.
Nanaboozoo and the animals were so sad, that
they began to sing mourning songs for their friend Muskrat. As they sat around
him, Nanaboozoo saw something in Muskrat's paw, he opened his paw and found a
small ball of earth there.
All of the animals were in awe, Muskrat
didn't fail and he gave his life so that new life could begin. Nanaboozoo took
the earth and breathed on it. Suddenly a beautiful Turtle swam to Nanaboozoo and
asked him to place the ball of earth on his back.
Turtle said "with the help of the Great
Spirit we can make a new land for the Anishinabek." Nanaboozoo placed the earth
on the center of Turtle's back and when he did this, the winds blew from the
four directions and Nanboozoo disappeared into the wind.
As the winds blew, they became stronger and the small ball of earth on the Turtle's back began to grow and it formed an island in the water.
The winds did not subside for days and the island got bigger and bigger, yet Turtle still held the new land on his back. Just like all the Turtles before him who carried their young protectively on their backs, Turtle carried the young earth.
The animals were over-joyed and filled with excitement as they watched their friend Turtle become the miracle of Turtle Island. He also became the Chief of all of the Clans because of his deed.
I am proud to be a member of the Anishinabek Turtle Clan. Join with me all you modern day scholars, with your philosophical theories and scientific studies and seek enlightenment in the Circles calling out to you from the back of a humble Turtle; we call North America.
Chi Meeg Wetch,
All My Mishoos,
Neebing White Eye