"HOMELAND"---This piece was created at the request of someone who wanted a turtle with native symbolism to reflect their heritage and connection to the Turtle Mountains. This person moved away from the Turtle Mountains at the age of 14 when tragedy hit their family with the sudden loss of their father. They moved west across the North Dakota border to Montana with their mother to be nearer to her family. This person still has a strong connection to the Turtle Mountains because they spent their youth and most formative years there before they moved.
Wherever we may come from, whatever tribe or small town, that place holds onto a piece of us that we never forget. We always remember where we came from. Hence the title of this piece called "HOMELAND." When we meet someone for the first time we tend to tell each other where we grew up or where we originally are from. For Native Americans we ask each other what tribe we belong to. Once we identify our tribal affiliation that explains everything we need to know without having to explain ourselves any further.
Creating this piece was a joy and honor because I was able to relate to the person who requested this because my family, on my father's side, are from the Turtle Mountains. I created this piece with the turtle to represent Turtle Island, what the Ojibwa, Chippewa and Cree call the continent of North America. Before the formation of turtle island the world was covered with water, represented by the blue on the back of the turtle, until the lowly and brave muskrat gave his life and swam to the bottom of the ocean and grabbed some earth to bring to the surface. With that one act of selfless sacrifice, Turtle Island was created giving humanity a place to live and thrive. The floral designs represent the traditions and heritage of the people of Turtle Island.
Our homeland is not just the land itself but all life on the land and above it and below it. Our homeland contains generations of our family, past, present & future. It is made up of our cultures and traditions.
This piece gives a physical form to the connection the person who requested it has with the Turtle Mountains where they spent most of their childhood and where they have memories of their father. This piece with the story explains, what cannot be explained by words alone or just the piece by itself, the connection we have with our "HOMELAND," whatever tribe that may be.
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