Turtle Clan Teacher

This sculpture is 11"x24"x10"

Traditionally, stories were not told until the first snow fall. Iroquois oral culture sustains many traditions and ceremonies. In earlier times, when life was more agricultural and settled, young people had the opportunity and inclination to listen to the old stories. The oral tradition developed young people's capacity for remembering long, involved speeches and songs. Storytelling was a cultural contact between generations. Storytellers used a variety of memory aids, including canes, staffs, wampum beads and belts, feather arrangements and stone construction. These devices helped to convey messages and strengthened memory of the customs and beliefs of a people. The turtle taught us patience and never to give up. Turtle is seen as strength and solidarity-old and wise and well respected. The turtle is one of the three clans of the Oneida Nation. The thirteen squares on a turtle's back represent the thirteen full moons of the calendar year. It was the turtle who offered its shell as a foundation in the creation story.