Turtles play varied and important rolls in many Native American tribes. One legend holds that in the beginning the earth was only water. The Great Spirit wanted to create land so he called upon seven large turtles to gather together in one place. The Great Spirit used straw and mud to form land on their backs.
The turtles began to argue and wanted to swim away from each other. When they did the earth shook, cracked and split apart but with the heavy land on their backs they could only swim a small distance before they were too tired to continue. Still, today when the turtles argue among themselves the land shakes.