Lakota Crafters Short "Keya" Necklace by Freida Big Road
The necklace is made on sinew. The pendant is a turtle made from imitation bone. The beads are hairpipe bone beads, glass seed beads, and silver enameled beads. It measures 25" long.
The turtle, called "Keya" in Lakota, played a big role in Lakota tradition. A turtle has 13 large scales on his back bordered by 28 small scales. this coordinated with the 13 months on the Lakota calendar that lasted 28 days each. The spirit of Keya was believed to give long life and protection.
Freida Big Road started making and selling bead work when she was only 12 years old. Freida is an Oglala Lakota woman who is the great granddaughter of Chief Red Cloud.