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Turtle — Kéya

The turtle, kéya is a sacred figure in Lakota symbolism as it represents Mother Earth. The spirit of the kéya represents the guardian of life, longevity, and fortitude.

Lakota dance dresses are traditionally decorated with a beaded yoke that incorporates the turtle-by-the-shore-of-the-lake design. Because of her role in the creation story of the Lakota. The Lakota associate women with the sacred turtle because of their gift of creating human life. Lakota women aspired to be like the turtle – resilient and long-lived.