Four Views of a Turtle Shell Pouch

This turtle shell pouch was made in 1991 in Carp Lake, MI by Odawa maker Carolyn Beck. It is made out of an 11” x 11.5” snapping turtle shell containing a sewn doeskin pouch with a blue felt inner lining on the interior shell. The shell is adorned with plaited quills, meaning the quill work looks woven. Red and white plaited quills trace the inner edge of the shell, and yellow, red, and green quills are used to create the flower in the center. Doeskin fringe hangs 26” long from the bottom of the shell with groupings of red and black, and yellow and black beads. A collection of 31 deer toes are attached to the end of each doeskin fringe.  A strip of doeskin dressed in black, yellow, and red plastic beads serves as a strap, attached at two points to the top of the shell (MSU Museum 1991).

The Odawa are one of the Three Fires of the Anishinaabe people of the Great Lakes Region, who also include the Ojibwe and Potawatomi.

 

Credits

Issy Smith, Tori Ott, Shelby Brejnak