Cherokee Woven Turtle Basket

Turtle

Turtle box woven from round honeysuckle reed

Native Americans are known to have spiritual connections to a great number of animals.  They believe that animals are vessels that allow for communication with their ancestors.  In Cherokee culture, the turtle “brings the message of assured success in your conquest” (Thadani: 2018).  Animals in the southeast, especially river animals, are some of the most at risk for extinction because southeast rivers are most affected by recent climate change. 

  • Drought, erosion and runoff that increase silt levels, and increased water temperatures are all caused by climate change and is causing increases in numbers of species becoming endangered and extinct (Curry: 2018). 

In Cherokee county North Carolina, the bog turtle has been listed on the endangered species list and is a federal species of concern. It is categorized under ‘T’ which means “threatened. A taxon ‘likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range.’” (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service: 2012). 

  • The turtle basket woven out of honeysuckle reed is very symbolic of the endangered species that are important to the Cherokee as it is dyed orange with bloodroot which is a plant that is endangered.  

  1. Curry, Tierra.  2018.  Endangered Species Protection Urged for 23 Southeast Species Threatened by Trump's Budget Cuts, Backlog. Center for Biological Diversity. https://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2018/southeast-species-06-08-2018.php, accessed November 10, 2019.
  2. Endangered Species, Threatened Species,Federal Species of Concern, and Candidate Species.  12AD.
  3. Cherokee County Endangered Species, Threatened Species,Federal Species of Concern, and Candidate Species. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. https://www.fws.gov/raleigh/species/cntylist/cherokee.html, accessed November 10, 2019.
  4. Thadani, Rahul.  2018.  Cherokee Symbols. Historyplex. Historyplex. https://historyplex.com/cherokee-symbols, accessed November 10, 2019.