“Indigenous Iconic Earth Altar” Fiber Art Installations » Turtle/Corn Power Dress

This power dress has a double representation of corn plant and sand turtle. It is the southern direction and the water element. It is the color blood red and the adolescent phase of life. The southern quadrant of the wheel also contains blood red water imagery. This turtle totem is part of the shared creation stories between the Maya, Southeastern nations such as Cherokee and Choctaw, and their relatives within the Iroquois Confederacy, to which the Tuscarora tribe originally belonged. The sea turtle represents our connection to the earth, and, as an amphibian, it also represents the bridge from water to land. The turtle, as symbolic foundation in the Iroquois Sky Woman creation story, is one of the oldest creatures from the earth’s remote past. Sky Woman is synonymous to the Mexican Corn Mother, known as Tonantzin, who later, through Spanish domination, transmuted into the present day Catholic influenced “Lady of Guadeloupe.” This is a female icon, women being the original bringers of corn, the arts, beauty, compassion, healing, truth and ethics to their people through teachings and rituals. Women, as the water element, relate to birth and regeneration (womb), which includes the watery realm of the turtle. The ancient history of the Southeastern woodlands is the story of the agricultural settlements of various indigenous groups, some of which migrated from as far south as Mexico. Corn equals life and corn agriculture specifically, was the key to sustaining the heavily populated urban centers within the “southeastern ceremonial complex.” For thousands of years corn, beans and squash were staple foods in these societies.

Medium: Mixed media fiber conglomerate

Dimensions: 46”x 48”

Leave a Reply