Native American culture is steeped with animal lore and relationships.  Interaction with and respect for all creatures was a part of everyday life for early natives. They believed that animals were willing to bestow gifts of their powers on those who sought them out. Effigies made of polished catlinite and hammered copper wrapped around carved wooden forms were found in pre-contact burial sites.

Silversmiths created trade silver effigy pendants in the shapes of various animals. The most common were the beaver and the turtle. Beaver effigies represented success, wealth and good trade. Turtle effigies represented longevity. If a beaver effigy was worn, good beaver hunting could be expected.