Last Updated: 11 years This Ojibway legend tells of the Great Flood and how the sacred Turtle Mountain was formed.
Sky Woman looked down upon the waters that covered the earth after the great melting of the ice. She saw a Giant Turtle (who was called Mekinok) in the water and came down to stand upon his strong back. Then, she summoned Muskrat to dive down in the water as far as he could – to find a part of the earth. Three times he dived, but cam up empty.
The fourth time, Muskrat was gone a very long time. Sky Woman grew weary, but she waited patiently and prayed. Finally, she saw a gleam of bubbles far down in the depths. Soon, Muskrat broke the surface of the water gasping for breath, but he had a piece of mud in his paws. Sky Woman thanked Muskrat and told him that he would always have a home on the land and in the water as well.
She then took the wet dirt into the palm of her hand, dried it and blew gently, to the north, to the east, the south and the west. Whenever the dust from the dirt went, land came up around the Giant Turtle. Soon the land completely encircled Mekinok. And Mekinok became Turtle Island, the center of the world and the birthplace of the Anishinabaug, the original people.
As the land grew, even Mekinok became covered with topsoil and the Anishinabug called him Mekinok Wajiw (the mound of earth that is a turtle). Today, it is called Turtle Mountain.