Turtle Island

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From turtle +‎ island, based on the role of a turtle's back acting as the base for the world while being surrounded by water in the creation stories of multiple tribes of the Northeastern Woodlands region of North America[1][2] as well as Algonquian- and Iroquoian-speaking peoples.[1] Specific groups with such myths include the Lenape people,[2][3] the Haudenosaunee,[1][2][4] the Ojibwe people,[1][5] and the Cree.[1]

Proper noun[edit]

Turtle Island

  1. North America.
    • 1992, Gordon Brotherston, Book of the Fourth World: Reading the Native Americas Through Their Literature, CUP Archive, →ISBN, page 174:
      If dispossession has defined recent centuries of Turtle Island history, then this fact has been well accommodated in official U.S. discourse.
    • 1999, Peter William Champoux, William Stuart Buehler, Gaia Matrix: Arkhom and the Geometries of Destiny in the North American Landscape, Gaia Matrix, →ISBN, page 62:
      Native peoples see the continent as Turtle Island (a concept brought to a wider audience by ecospirit poetry of Gary Snyder). The continental Turtle can be seen in two ways, with its head either to the north or south.
    • 2003, Sheila Seclearr, A Tree on Turtle Island, PageFree Publishing, Inc., →ISBN, page 250:
      Tears had flowed with the tide of settlers all the way to the western shores of Turtle Island. When Chief Seattle signed the 1855 Port Elliott Treaty, surrendering his lands to the Washington governor, []
    • 2012, Christopher B. Teuton, Cherokee Stories of the Turtle Island Liars’ Club, UNC Press Books, →ISBN, page 3:
      For me, Cherokee Stories of the Turtle Island Liars' Club represents a coming together of the concerns of my published work as a scholar and my personal journey home to learn from my elders.
  2. Earth.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Primarily used by Native Americans.


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  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Amanda Robinson with Michelle Filice (2018 November 6) “Turtle Island”, in The Canadian Encyclopedia[1], Historica Canada, retrieved June 8, 2020:Turtle Island is the name many Algonquian- and Iroquoian-speaking peoples mainly in the northeastern part of North America use to refer to the continent.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Jay Miller (June 1974), “Why the World is on the Back of a Turtle”, in Man[2], volume 9, issue 2, Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, pages 306–308
  3. ^ William Wilmon Newcomb (1956), “Folklore”, in The culture and acculturation of the Delaware Indians[3], Ann Arbor Michigan: University of Michigan, →OCLC, pages 71–73
  4. ^ Harriet Maxwell Converse (Ya-ie-wa-noh); Arthur Caswell Parker (Ga-wa-so-wa-neh) (1908), “Ha-nu-nah the Turtle”, in Myths and Legends of the New York State Iroquois (New York State Museum bulletin 125), Albany, New York: University of the State of New York, →OCLC, page 33
  5. ^ Nokomis (n.d.) “The Creation of Turtle Island”, in Native Art in Canada, retrieved June 8, 2020