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Amulet in the shape of a turtle, 1871-1900

Made from leather and decorated with beads and porcupine quills, this turtle-shaped amulet is thought to contain an umbilical cord. The amulet was worn by girls until they reached puberty to ward off illness. In many Native American belief systems, turtles were thought to look after women's diseases. It was possibly made by the Sioux people of the Great Plains, in North America.

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    Glossary: human remains

    term created as part of the NMSI human remains policy (from April 2007); Other terms used are 'blood' and 'human hair'

    Glossary: amulet

    Small object or piece of jewellery worn as a protecting charm to ward off ill health and bad luck.