Turtle Island was a name many Algonquin tribes gave this land we now call North America. They described themselves as baby turtles riding the back of the mother turtle swimming through the sea.
It’s worth noting that Turtle Mountain rises up in the exact center of the continent, just south and west of Lake Winnipeg, and that the Turtle Band of Chippewa-Cree people call that place home.
Little things like that may be nothing more than anecdotal, but I always was fascinated with the history, culture, and spiritualism of the Native American people. There were many of those intriguing coincidences to be found in a way of life very different from my own.
As I learned more, I came to realize there were lots of distinctly different peoples that we call Indigenous, First Nations, Native Americans, or Indians. In fact, there were some 1,200 separate groups of people living here who spoke mutually unintelligible languages, meaning they had to use sign language to fully communicate with each other.
Possibly nowhere else on earth had such an intense concentration of unique tribes, clans, bands of people inhabiting a single continent. This banquet of humanity, their many languages, cultures, customs, and their histories is an integral part of our history as Americans, Mexicans, and Canadians, yet most of us know very little of it.
We hope this Turtle Island portal can make a modest contribution to learning more about the history of the first peoples to occupy this land. In doing so, we may learn more about ourselves, as well.