In many cultures throughout the world, turtles and tortoises are revered symbols of
wisdom, longevity, endurance, wealth and in some cultures, a part of creation myths.
Shared by First Nation’s Buluwandji Elder,Willie Brim
I had a conversation with the very accommodating Buluwandji Elder, Mr. Willie Brim. He discussed with
me what the responsibilities are of someone associated with the totem of the turtle.
“Those of us who have the turtle as their totem must ensure that the future of the turtle is protected.
Our job is to sing for the spirit of the turtle so that it is rejoicing and in our lifetime lives well. We
become like a turtle and while others can eat turtles, because the turtle is Barbara‘s totem, she cannot.
She becomes the turtle‘s protector. When the Indigenous say sing, you are asking the creator for his
blessings so that turtles will have good survival right from their eggs. Once it is known who you are,
you will be called by your totem name; Thename of the turtle; BUDJIGAL. So you will have your
totem name and you will have your skin name, Barbara.“
This information pertains only to freshwater turtles. The dreaming of the turtle has long since been
lost over time, but the respect for it in the Indigenous Nation continues.