“MaryLou stand here at the head. Dave you stand at the tail.” On our recent visit to Ancient Echoes an interpretive history centre in Herschel Saskatchewan we encircled a turtle effigy and heard an aboriginal creation story involving the turtle. Our guide placed us at key spots around the turtle so we could easily see its shape outlined with stones.
An effigy is a stylized animal created out of dirt or rocks. There were once some 20,000 effigies on the prairies. Turtle effigies were common since Plains Indians associated the turtle with long life, protection and fertility. Amongst many indigenous people there is a belief that the Great Spirit created North America by placing earth on the back of a turtle. Our guide David Neufeld told us a detailed and colorful version of that creation story.
Because of that story our continent is sometimes referred to as Turtle Island. Who knows? The turtle effigy we saw in a farmer’s field in Herschel may have been used hundreds of years ago as a teaching spot to share the creation legend of the turtle. Those people of a distant time may have heard the story just as we did.
Other posts about our visit to Ancient Echoes……..