How did Hindus + Mayas & Native Americans, think along similar lines in coming up with a similar icon: a figure, either plant or human, standing or sitting upon a turtle’s bac??
In Hindu Puranas, the solar god Vishnu is portrayed as standing on the back of a turtle (himself) while churning the Milky Way using a serpent wrapped around the World Mountain (Mandara).
In Maya mythology, the First Father or Hun Hunahpu as the Maize God is depicted as emerging or resurrecting through the shell of a turtle, symbolizing the earth. This reborn or resurrected figure is also solar, associated later with the feathered serpent, Quetzalcoatl/Kukulkan who is the morning star/Venus, as well as possessing many solar attributes. The motif symbolizes the solar “awakening” of the all-important and sacred maize shoot from the seed. This plant represents the World Tree, which is in turn the Milky Way in Mesoamerican mythology.
Far away in what is now New York and Canada, Native Americans of the Oneida tribe were depicting the sun at the top of a world tree growing out of the back of a turtle, while America itself was considered to be “Turtle Island.”