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In Native American legend, the thirteen scales on Old Turtle’s back hold the key to the thirteen cycles of the moon and the changing seasons. The First.

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Presentation on theme: "In Native American legend, the thirteen scales on Old Turtle’s back hold the key to the thirteen cycles of the moon and the changing seasons. The First."— Presentation transcript:


2 In Native American legend, the thirteen scales on Old Turtle’s back hold the key to the thirteen cycles of the moon and the changing seasons. The First Nations, Metis and Inuit people of North America have always depended upon the natural world for their survival.

3 The lyrical poems and striking paintings in the book celebrate the wonder of the seasons. The pattern of the thirteen scales (and the 26-28 smaller scales around the perimeter) remind us that all things are connected and that we must try to live in balance.

4 The Native American people used the back of the snapping turtle shell as a way of keeping track of the moons in a year. I know you are thinking, “Aren’t there twelve moons in a year?” That is true if there were not occasionally two full moons in one month approximately every 2.5 years.

5 Not all First Nations people talk about the twelve or thirteen moons. In some places like the far north or the desert southwest, the seasons are divided into winter and summer…or the dry time and the time of rains.


7 What is a 13 Moon Calendar? A 13-Moon Calendar is the logical and natural way to count the 365-day year cycle. Printed around the world by people of diverse cultures and faiths, this 13 Moon calendar is proposed as the harmonious alternative to the unnatural, irregular 12-month yearly calendar which serves as the current world standard of time.

8 Instead of 12 months which are 28, 29, 30, or 31 days long, the year is instead measured into 13 months, each one an even 28 days (the 28 smaller segments which surround the perimeter of the shell) 13 moons of 28 days each gives 364 days - plus 1 "day out of time," a day of celebration and forgiveness, to acknowledge the passing year and welcome in the new year.

9 Unlike the 12-month calendar which corresponds to no natural cycles, the thirteen moon calendar is a "solar-lunar calendar" because 365 days is the measure of the Earth going around the Sun (solar) and 28 days is the average measure of the Moon's lunar cycles

10 Let’s get started on the 13 moons To assist you in your understanding, try the following: As you listen and read the moon titles and the excerpt from the poems…VISUALIZE.. Make a MOVIE in your MIND…make connections to YOUR OWN UNDERSTANDING of our climate and changing seasons… have you ever seen this? Have you ever felt this? What would that be like?

11 The slides that follow are organized in this way: The first slide is the title from the Poetry Book AND the name given to it by the various First Nations The second slide gives us the Anishinabe version And so on for each set of 2 slides

12 First Moon – Northern Cheyenne Moon of Popping Trees “Outside the lodge, the night air is bitter cold. Now the Frost Giant walks with his club in his hand. When he strikes the trunks of the cottonwood trees, we hear them crack beneath the blow”

13 Anishinabe version of same story Spirit Moon Manidoo giizis

14 Second Moon - Potawatomi Baby Bear Moon “Instead we think how those small bears are like our children. We let them dream together.”

15 Anishinabe version of story Bear Moon Makwa giizis

16 Third Moon - Anishinabe Maple Sugar Moon “All year round, you just had to break a twig and lie down beneath the tree with open mouth.”

17 Anishinabe version of same story Snow crust moon Naabidin giizis

18 Fourth Moon - Cree Frog Moon “The trickster met with all of the animals to decide how many moons would be winter”

19 Anishinabe version Sugar Moon Ziisibaakadake giizis

20 Fifth Moon - Huron Budding Moon “One year Old Man Winter refused to leave our land and so our people asked for help.”

21 Anishinabe version Sucker Moon Nmebine giizis

22 Sixth Moon - Seneca Strawberry Moon “He shared with his people what he was taught and gave them the sweetness of the red strawberries.”

23 Anishinabe version Blossom moon Waabgonii giizis

24 Seventh Moon – Pomo Moon when Acorns Appear “That was when Earth Elder made the first tree, a great oak with twelve branches arching over the land.”

25 Anishinabe version Berry Moon Mnoomni giizis

26 Moon of Wild Rice Eighth Moon – Menominee “ The Bear people gave them wild rice in exchange and so it came to be that those two families live together and harvest this special food.”

27 Anishinabe version Rice moon Mnoomni giizis

28 Moose-calling Moon Ninth Moon – Micmac “So the Moose comes and stands strong as the northeast wind. He looks at us, then we watch him disappear back into the willows again.”

29 Anishinabe version Changing leaves moon Waabagaa giizis

30 Moon of Falling Leaves Tenth Moon - Cherokee “Long ago, the trees were told they must stay awake seven days and nights, but only the cedar, the pine and the spruce stayed awake until the seventh night.”

31 Anishinabe Moon Falling leaves moon Bnaakwii giizis

32 Eleventh Moon - Winnebago Moon when Deer drop their horns “Now, each winter, when the deer gather, just as we enter our medicine lodges, they leave their weapons outside the door.”

33 Anishinabe version Freezing Moon Baashkaakodin giizis

34 Moon when Wolves run together Twelfth Moon – Lakota Sioux “Shunk man-i-tu tan- ka we call the wolves, the powerful spirits who look like dogs…”

35 Anishinabe version Little spirit Moon Manidoo giizisoonhs

36 Big Moon Thirteenth Moon - Abenaki “So it is that our own People of the Dawn place one final moon at the end of each cycle. We call it Kit- chee Kee-sos, Big Moon.

37 Anishinabe version Spirit Moon Manidoo giizis

38 “…the last in our circle of seasons, thirteen moons on Old Turtle’s Back.”

39 In Anishinabe culture, we are taught that a piece of mother earth was put on the turtle’s back after the great flood. Nanabozho saw that the back of the turtle had thirteen sections, which he compared to the thirteen moons of the year.


41 There are many, many different versions of this story. This book and this presentation explores some of the versions. Native Tribal Nations in different regions of the continent give us a wider sense of the many things to notice in this beautiful world around us…. …it is a world which must be listened to and respected.

42 This presentation was prepared for you by Ms. C. Forbes, First Nations, Metis and Inuit Student Support

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