Turtle Island

I'm getting increasingly tired of people using the name "Turtle Island" without, in my view, really understanding it. Activists, new agers, poets, etc have been using it to be another name for the North American continent, in an effort to get away from using names invented by the white colonizers, ever since Gary Snyder published a book of poetry by that name. I guess it's somewhat debatable, but here's my point: the idea comes from the common Native American cosmovision that all the world is perched on the back of a giant turtle. One might argue that it refers to just this continent because they weren't aware of any other continents, but if there were there would be Deer Island and Whale Island and whatever else besides Turtle Island. But the point is that it's a cosmological, not geographic, worldview - they believed this continent was the entire world, was all there was for humans and other animals to live on. Therefore, I think you're really being too specific if you refer to North America as "Turtle Island." The whole world is Turtle Island.

I admit that it is ambiguous though. Here's part of a version of the myth:

Nanaboozhoo took the piece of Earth from Muskrat's paw. Just then, the turtle swam forward and said, "Use my back to bear the weight of this piece of Earth. With the help of Kitchi-Manitou, we can make a new Earth." Nanaboozhoo put the piece of Earth on the turtle's back. Suddenly, the wind blew from each of the Four Directions, The tiny piece of Earth on the turtle's back began to grow. It grew and grew and grew until it formed a mi-ni-si', or island in the water. The island grew larger and larger, but still the turtle bore the weight of the Earth on his back. Nanaboozhoo and the animals all sang and danced in a widening circle on the growing island. After a while, the Four Winds ceased to blow and the waters became still. A huge island sat in the middle of the water

So, is it "a new Earth", or is it just "an island" that is part of the Earth? Maybe a European, over-rational mind just can't make sense of it.