Acrylic on Canvas | 6 X 6 | Individually sold $500 | Set of 3 $1200
“It is strictly believed and understood by the Sioux that a child is the greatest gift from Wakan tanka, in response to many devout prayers, sacrifices and promises.”
For many Great Plains tribes, a special amulet was created for each newborn baby. Immediately after delivery, one of the female attendants would cut the child’s umbilical cord and its end was tightly bound with sinew. Parts were kept and placed in one of these special amulets which often had the particular shape of small reptiles such as lizards, snakes and turtles – animals hard to catch or kill. These amulets were regarded as longevity charms and thought to protect the child during its formative years. Hung from the cradleboard, an amulet could also serve as a playful distraction for the baby. They were often beautifully quilled or beaded, perhaps by a proud grandmother, and became treasured heirlooms. If the amulet were ever to be sold, the umbilical cord was always removed, carefully buried and the buckskin container was resewn.
These four little Lakota Sioux beaded amulets all represent the turtle. According to Rosalie Little Thunder, “Turtles have hard shells that are tough, like the Lakota people!”