Turtle amulet, Plains Indians, USA and Canada, 1880-1920.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Amulet in the form of a turtle, made of hide decorated with beads, worn by girl children to protect them, probably made by the Sioux Indians. When a child was born, a relative would traditionally make an amulet and a piece of the baby's umbilical cord would be kept inside this amulet. For a girl, the amulet would be a turtle and a lizard for a boy. The turtle is connected to myths about the creation of the world and is a symbol of long life and endurance.