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Old 06-10-2010, 06:43 PM   #1
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turtle shell "shields"

i'm not sure where else to ask this. i've heard people talking about using snapping turtle shells as dance shields. i always thought this was a wannabe thing til i saw pics at a tribal sponsored powwow with a couple people with these with some really nice regalia. am i wrong about this? where did this idea come from?
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Old 06-13-2010, 02:26 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blacktail View Post
i'm not sure where else to ask this. . . i've heard people talking about using snapping turtle shells as dance shields.?


black,

A loooooooooone time ago, there was this brave warrior who was the leader of a great war party. They travelled to the country of their enemy. Outmatched by the enemy, they engaged in a hit and run skirmish. Because he was the leader of his war party, he stayed to fight, in order to give the rest of the warriors a chance to retreat with their lives.

The enemy counted coup on him many times and stole his horse leaving him humilated. Too boot, they even stole his breechcloth. He travelled on foot back toward his camp scarred and battered. But at least he was still alive, but only barely (no pun intended). After walking two days and nights, he heard the beating of the drum. Cautiously he followed this sound to the top of a hill.

When he looked down the other side of the hill, he saw his people camped next to a still, deep river. In the center of his camp they were singing for the summer solstice. He recognized the songs and felt comforted.

He made his way to the river. As he began to cross the river he was pulled under by a huge snapping turtle that had clamped on to his left arm. He nearly drowned as he struggled to get to the bank near his camp. Over what seemed an eternity, he pulled the snapping turtle still attached to his arm into the area of camp where everyone had gathered around the drum and singers.

When he entered this area he was jumping and yelling in pain. His people were surprised to see this brave warrior had returned alive back to his camp. They saw what they thought was dancing to the drumbeat with a snapping turtle in the place of a shield. Immediately everyone started honoring him by dancing behind him. Eventually the snapping turtle let loose.

To this day, traditional dancers who know this story wear a snapping turtle shield to honor the memory of this once great warrior!


Whome
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Last edited by WhoMe; 06-14-2010 at 12:01 PM..
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Old 06-13-2010, 10:45 PM   #3
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turtle shields

Since we're talkin turtle here LOL I have a snapper shell and want to make a shield for someone. Does anyone have advice on how to do the back arm attachment part?
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Old 06-14-2010, 11:50 AM   #4
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What you are gonna have to do is drill two holes at the top end and two on the bottom end of your shell. If you are going to use buckshin thongs to attach your straps use a 3/16 drill bit and space the holes out about two inches. If you are going to use twisted rawhide to attach your strap 1/4" holes.

Remember though according to old ways, you are going to have to make your holes run from one end of the middle section of snapping turtle shell to the other if you are married. When you dance with your forarm held horizontally (in the warrior's position) with your shield maDe in the manner of the married man it symbolizes the broad wide protection of your family and people. If you are single you must drill your holes from the long ends of the shell (the head and the rump). This will symbolize that you are single and have no family to protect. You fight for glory and honor, and holding your forarm horizontally in the warrior's position (with the sheild running long and straight lengthwise from the bottom to the top) shows the ladies that you are a strapping young buck ready to rut.

Don't forget the soft shell turtle shell medicine cap. If you use the sheild and are a warrior man, you must use the medicine cap. You can drill 2 1/4th inch holes in the top to attach your tail feathers. Some people also make a "band" of deer hair to run around the outside of the shell. This is not neccisary but in todays commercialized world of dance contests some dancers feel that this "bling" gives enough flash to help compete with dancers with their fancy 17 inch roaches of many colors (plus it just looks KEEN!)

As a word of caution, there are still a few societies (which are dying out) that keep these turtle ways. There are not many warriors left who belong to these societys and they generally have no use for powwows (they stick to their own cerimonial turtle dances) so I don't think you have to worry much about them questioning you about your right to wear these items. Also, these societys are secret societys so if someone were to question you they would be outing theirselves as belonging to the society which from what an old man told me is grounds for that person to be stripped of his position in the society (the old man was not a member himself, but used to snag a members wife who liked to kiss and tell).

AHO!
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Old 06-14-2010, 11:57 AM   #5
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Old 06-14-2010, 12:04 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigChef View Post
Remember though according to old ways, you are going to have to make your holes run from one end of the middle section of snapping turtle shell to the other if you are married. When you dance with your forarm held horizontally (in the warrior's position) with your shield maDe in the manner of the married man it symbolizes the broad wide protection of your family and people. If you are single you must drill your holes from the long ends of the shell (the head and the rump). This will symbolize that you are single and have no family to protect. You fight for glory and honor, and holding your forarm horizontally in the warrior's position (with the sheild running long and straight lengthwise from the bottom to the top) shows the ladies that you are a strapping young buck ready to rut!

Big,

You forgot to note that if the warrior is married but running around on his wife, he can drill the holes in the opposite corners so that he can wear his shield criss-cross.

Remember???
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Old 06-14-2010, 07:00 PM   #7
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Big,

You forgot to note that if the warrior is married but running around on his wife, he can drill the holes in the opposite corners so that he can wear his shield criss-cross.

Remember???
Yes this is true, however it was a contributing factor to the decline of the society. This is a very visible sign and after a while the wives knew what their husband was up to. So the warrior men who wore their shields in this manner stopped dancing in the turtle society and started to powwow instead (it's a lot easier to run around on the wife when you are away from home where the wife doesnt know anyone and has kids to look after at home). They traded their turtle sheilds in for mirror boards (so they could see if any of their wives brothers or cousins and uncles were around "in a slick way") and started hittin the trail. Smart guys those warrior men were, they get to run around the country and wifey won't say much about it as long as they win and bring home some money. Just slick!

There have been mention of certain people who had the right to wear their sheilds with the rump facing up and the straps attached to the outside of the hump of the shell (so that the inside of the shell would face outwards resembling a large "basket" type sheild - kinda like a catcher's mitt). I don't know what that symbolized though...
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Old 06-14-2010, 07:43 PM   #8
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Old 06-14-2010, 08:26 PM   #9
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black,

A loooooooooone time ago, there was this brave warrior who was the leader of a great war party. They travelled to the country of their enemy. Outmatched by the enemy, they engaged in a hit and run skirmish. Because he was the leader of his war party, he stayed to fight, in order to give the rest of the warriors a chance to retreat with their lives.

The enemy counted coup on him many times and stole his horse leaving him humilated. Too boot, they even stole his breechcloth. He travelled on foot back toward his camp scarred and battered. But at least he was still alive, but only barely (no pun intended). After walking two days and nights, he heard the beating of the drum. Cautiously he followed this sound to the top of a hill.

When he looked down the other side of the hill, he saw his people camped next to a still, deep river. In the center of his camp they were singing for the summer solstice. He recognized the songs and felt comforted.

He made his way to the river. As he began to cross the river he was pulled under by a huge snapping turtle that had clamped on to his left arm. He nearly drowned as he struggled to get to the bank near his camp. Over what seemed an eternity, he pulled the snapping turtle still attached to his arm into the area of camp where everyone had gathered around the drum and singers.

When he entered this area he was jumping and yelling in pain. His people were surprised to see this brave warrior had returned alive back to his camp. They saw what they thought was dancing to the drumbeat with a snapping turtle in the place of a shield. Immediately everyone started honoring him by dancing behind him. Eventually the snapping turtle let loose.

To this day, traditional dancers who know this story wear a snapping turtle shield to honor the memory of this once great warrior!


Whome
oh my god,hahahaha that's awesome!!! i love it. i should do this just so i can re-tell this fine story. hahahaha reminds me of the porky roach story on here from a few years ago. thanks for the laugh whome!!!
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Old 06-14-2010, 08:44 PM   #10
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