|Mackinac Island -- Native American Turtle Legend|
A long time before Mackinac Island, Michigan, existed, all was water with many creatures swimming about. Far above the clouds, there was a place where there lived a powerful chief. His wife was going to have a baby. In the place called Sky Land, there was a great tree with four large roots stretching out into the four sacred directions (North, South, East and West). The tree bore many kinds of fruits and flowers. One night the Chief's wife dreamed that the great tree had been uprooted. The Chief thought that this was a dream of great significance and must be fulfilled. With great effort, the tree was uprooted, leaving a large hole in the sky. The Chief's wife leaned to look through the hole but lost her balance and fell. Grasping at the tree as she fell, she managed to hold onto only a handful of seeds. The water creatures below saw her falling. They realized that she was not a water creature and tried desparately to think of a way to help her. "I have heard" said one,"that there is earth far below the waters. Perhaps we should try to get some for her to stand upon." One by one the animals tried to dive down far enough to retrieve land, but one by one they failed. Finally, a brave little muskrat tried one last time. Deeper and deeper she dove until her little lungs almost burst. Sudenly she found a bit of land. Scooping it up, she frantically swam to the surface. But alas, where to put the land? The turtle said, "put it on my back. I will hold up the land and the sky woman." And so they did. Sky woman landed safely on the back of the turtle. She was very thankful. She cast the seeds about. 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. The land on the turtle's back became ever so beautiful. This magnificent island, currently called Mackinac Island, became known as Mackinac, The Land of the Great Turtle." Its ancient name Michilimackinac means Home of the Great Turtle. Over the centuries, the natives of this area cherished the island as a place of resort and temporary sojourn.
The textured head, feet and tail surrounding the stained glass body of the turtle are my own soul-felt expression. I created Turtle Island and dedicated it to the Great Turtle whose back is Mackinac Island.