Chelydra serpentina (Linnaeus)
Traditional Lakota culture followed a lunar calendar, with thirteen months of twenty-eight days. Because the khéya (turtle) had “13 large scales on its back, and 28 small scales around the shell,” it “became an important symbol in Lakota society.” Thus the “spirit” of the khéya is “the guardian of life, longevity and fortitude. An amulet in the shape of a keya is made for every newborn baby in many families” (Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center, “Keya”).
Coreopsis tinctoria (Nuttall)
Čhaŋȟlóǧaŋ wakȟályapi (Lakȟóta)
The Lakota name translates literally as “boiling weed.” And so, according to Linda Black Elk, “This plant is known as ‘life-medicine’ and the dried plant is used to make a coffee substitute.” Perhaps more interestingly, “Lakota women made an infusion of the shoots [. . .] when they desired a female child” (“Culturally Important Plants of the Lakota”).