North America (the United States and Canada) was originally known as Turtle Island. The name comes from the Aboriginal Creation story of the Anishinaabek and was renamed to the Americas after the Italian explorer, Amerigo Vespucci.
The Anishinaabek is one of the most widespread nations of the Aboriginal People of Turtle Island. There were Anishinaabek people living from the Canadian Sub-arctic across North America into Mexico.
In various Indigenous origin stories, the turtle is said to support the world and is an icon of life itself. Turtle Island, therefore, speaks to various spiritual beliefs about creation and for some, the turtle is a marker of identity, culture, autonomy and deeply-held respect for the environment.
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