Importance of Turtle Shell Shakers
It is important to Britteny Cuevas to serve her culture. Today she is specifically sharing knowledge upon Southeastern Native American Tribal practices and customs. This will give a personal perspective concerning Box Turtles.
“I have been very blessed to have been given the opportunity to learn cultural customs and practices to pass on about Turtle Shell Shakers. I thank the Creator. I am thankful for the people he has brought into my life at different parts of my life who were willing to teach me the things I need to know. May I not forget or take them for granted. I ask the Creator to remove all the traps and snares that lie before me as I walk this earth and forgive me for my iniquities. May I forgive my enemies and those who want to do harm to me. May the Creator give me the strength to better myself so that I can pray for others.”
Who is Britteny Cuevas?
“Britteny cv hocefkv tos. Este Mvskovlke. Vn liketv locv pulkv tos, momen Kvncate.”
(I am Britteny Cuevas, of the Mvskoke People, Turtle Clan, and my Tribal Town is Concharty.)
Britteny’s ancestral region is located in what is now called the Georgia-Alabama States of North America. Britteny is a citizen of the Muscogee Creek Nation, and of the Quapaw (O-Gah- Pah) People. The last name she was given by her father is “Cuevas” an Indigenous tribe from what is now known as the Panama region said to be cave dwellers. Britteny now resides in Muskogee, Oklahoma.
Britteny holds her family and culture close in efforts to be an aspiring leader. Britteny started dancing and attended the yearly Green Corn Ceremony, Tallahassee Wvkokaye, in attendance at the Ribbon Dance as a Turtle Shell Shaker since 2014.
Britteny’s Tribal Grounds, Concharty, are no longer in operation due to one brother killing the other on accident during an East and West game (As I was told); my Matriarchal Mvskoke family names are Wilson, Bruner. My Patriarch Quapaw (P-Gah-Pah) family name Redeagle.
Why is she learning to make Turtle Shell Shakers?
Britteny Cuevas is learning because she prayed for it and the Creator allowed her to receive this lesson. Britteny was told by her elders that since she was a part of the Turtle Clan and knowing she is a Mvskoke Matriarch that it is her responsibility to be making these Shell Shakers for herself and others. She acknowledges that by making these Turtle Shakers the Creator does not have to give her these things. That the turtles alone are not holy, we do not need these things to pray. Yet with the Creator’s permission, we can be holy and pray in this way.
What is a Stompdance?
The Stompdance is a form of dance to celebrate our culture. Dancers dance in a counter-clockwise circle, woman following man following woman, and so on. Women wear long skirts and turtle shell “shakers”, one of the main components in making the music. Men “call” and are the highlight of the song by setting the pace of the dancers. This particular dance is common to Indians in the Southeast part of the United States. The dance is celebrated socially and religiously. Social stomp dances are held throughout the year and can be held indoors or outdoors, with or without a fire. Religious stomp dances are held during the summer at the height of the new crop season at particular stomp dance grounds during the Green Corn Ceremony. (Cultural Traditions)
When is she making the Turtle Shell Shakers?
Britteny is hosting a “Turtle Processing Camp” June 20, 2020, from 8 am till it is too hot to stay in the Oklahoma heat. If the work is not done it may be a two-day event. The Turtles specifically have to be processed before the New Moon passes. (Continue Reading “Steps to process Turtles”)
Who is she making the shakers for?
This year Britteny Cuevas is making Turtle Shell Shakers for herself, her sister Tresa Rice, Niece’s Delilah Rice, and Khloe Rice. She does this to teach our young women our values and beliefs. Britteny was only going to be learning by herself but the Creator has given her more than she asked for so it is her responsibility to teach and share this experience with others.
Anonymous. “Cultural Traditions.” Seal of the Coushatta Tribe, 2020 Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana, 19 June 2013, www.koasatiheritage.org/blog/2013/jun/19/what-stomp-dance/.