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The Turtle Island Story

Our name has its origin in the common oral history of Canada’s First Nations

The story of ‘’Turtle Island’’ goes back to creation. Long ago, after the Great Mystery, the original people, the Anishinabe strayed from their harmonious ways and began to argue and fight with one another. Brother against brother, they soon were killing one another over hunting grounds and other disagreements. The great Manitou decided to purify the earth by sending a great flood, Nanaboozhoo was able to survive the flood on a great log, along with a few animals and birds. He dived into the water to grab a handful of earth to create new land for them to live on. The water was too deep for him. Then each animal took their turn but it was all in vain. A small muskrat then spoke up and asked permission to try. The other animals that were more powerful all laughed but Nanaboozhoo told them to stop and said that only Manitou can place judgement on others and that the Muskrat should be allowed to dive.
The muskrat dove into the water, he was gone longer than any other animal. After a while everyone thought he had given his life trying to reach the bottom. Far below the surface the muskrat had reached the bottom. Very weak from lack of air, he grabbed some earth and began to swim to the surface. One animal spotted the muskrat as he floated to the surface. Nanaboozhoo grabbed him. Then he said with regret, ’’the muskrat went too long without air, he is dead. Then he noticed in his paw a ball of earth. Just then the turtle swam close and said ‘’use my back to bear the weight of this piece of earth’’. Nanaboozhoo summoned Manitou to help them and put the piece of earth on the turtle’s back. Suddenly, the wind blew from each of the four directions, the tiny piece of earth on the turtle’s back began to grow. It grew and grew and grew until it formed an island in the water. As the island grew larger, the turtle bore the weight. When the four wind ceased, a huge island sat in the middle of the water and today that island is called North America. Traditional, First Nations people hold special reverence for the turtle, since it had sacrificed its life and made life possible on earth. The muskrat has been given a good life in the oral stories of First Nations people, as the small insignificant animal that rose to the challenge and saved others.
The people of First Nations say ‘’stories define us, they encompass all our life experiences and they inform others about who we are and how we got here’’.
To really understand their humility is to understand there saying’’ the truth about stories is that, that’s all we are.
The story of Turtle Island helps children understand the values of their culture. Story telling is an important piece of the seven teaching of humility, courage, honesty, love, wisdom, respect and truth.


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Our Story

Our name is a tribute to these people’s wisdom, courage and great humility.