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  • Writer's pictureCari Mackey

The Legend of The Turtle

Hello, it’s Carsyn here, and I am back again for another weekly email. Lets talk turtles! It's officially Turtle season in Panama, and while they are super important to our planet, turtles also have a deeper origin of importance that is all to do with the Native Americans. So lets take a deep dive into the amazing legacy of the turtle!

When it comes to the Native Americans, turtles are a deeply sacred animal. Many indigenous tribes' folklore claim that the turtle is responsible for the creation of the Earth. In many of the stories, a supreme being tasks different animals with finding mud to use for habitable land. The animals then put that mud on the Turtle, giving it the responsibility of carrying the world on its back. This is why many Native Americans even refer to North America as “Turtle Island.”

The legend of turtles doesn't stop at the creation of Earth; it also goes further to explain some natural phenomenon’s such as earthquakes. The Haudenosaunee tribe believes that earthquakes aren't caused by a shift in tectonic plates but rather by the turtle that carries the Earth, giving a big stretch (a much more fun theory if you ask me). Turtles symbolize many different things to many different tribes, whether it be a long life, protection, or fertility. Overall, the tribes agreed that turtles are awesome!

Additionally, the Sea turtles also represent healing. The Navajo-Dine often used turtle shells to dispense medications, because they believed using the shell as a container provided additional healing powers to the medication. However, that was not the only use for the turtle shell. Many tribes used them to make ceremonial dance rattles, and they were also used as a calendar. The 13 patterned squares on the back of the turtle represented the thirteen full moons of the year, while the twenty-eight squares that surround the other thirteen represent the twenty eight days of each lunar month.

The Native Americans aren’t the only ones who think turtles are pretty cool. We here at Morrillo Beach Eco Resort share the exact same opinion! Beginning here in June the females lay their eggs on the beaches meaning there will soon be a bunch of cute baby turtles making their way to the sea. Unfortunately for us, the number of turtles that make it to the sea is decreasing. A great way to learn more and help with this issue is to stay with us during our Sea Turtle Conservation Program when we partner with our local sea turtle conservation center.

Since the turtle is literally carrying the world on its back, the least we can do is help to protect them! So, I’m tasking you with helping our turtles in whatever way you can!

Your Friends in Morrillo,

Cari, Ryan and Carsyn

Owners and Hosts

Morrillo Beach Eco Resort

Sea Turtle Conservation Tip: The Hawksbill turtle is facing extinction because they have been hunted for their beautiful shell. Avoid purchasing genuine tortoise shell products like jewelry and other accessories and instead choose alternative materials. For more information check out Too Rare To Wear.

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