Native American Astronomy

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San Francisco Exploratorium 10 Coolest Sites for July, 1996. Astronomy got special mention. The whole Exploratorium is cool for neat interactive science exhibits anytime

MIT Astronomy Education resources Native Astronomy, Site of the Day 9/1/96

Shop at our online poster store! We have selected a great group of posters with images from the Hubble Space telescope, Deep Sky images, the Earth from Space, the Solar System, and Men in Space. Take a look and decorate your room, or find a great gift here.

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at the bottom of each page is a button to return to this menu.

Astronomy Magazine Almanac: Current month night sky--constellations at early evening. Good moon phases diagram if you click on Sky Events at the bottom of the almanac page.

Lakota Stellar Theology: "As above, so below" spiritual philosophy that unifies Lakota star knowledge -- a book that puts together star knowledge gathered from elders over many years. You can get from Sinte Gleshka Rosebud Reservation Lakota University

Lakota sacred star map, and Earth mirror sacred map in Black Hills of star-timed ceremonial round

Arvol Looking Horse Announces Worldwide June 21 Prayer Ceremony, date based on Star Knowledge

Equinoxes, solstices , ecliptic plane for sunpath among the stars during the solar year. Constellations. The 26,000 year precessional cycle of the stars

Sun's seasonal path among the stars what it means for Lakota elders to say sun is "in" a constellation; what is special about constellations of the Zodiac. Starmaps
Lakota winter solstice: all the sacred constellations are at the zenith of the sky. Large starmap suitable to print for class handout.
Bighorn Medicine Wheel: stone, sun, stars on a mountaintop, early Sun Dance instructions, best-known Wheel, on Medicine Mountain
Up on Medicine Mountain with Dr. John Eddy, June 21, 1972: Sunrise lineup with Bighorn Wheel stone observatory cairns
How Medicine Wheel works. Lots of other wheels. Stone Medicine Wheels began 2,200 years ago on the northern plains of Alberta and Saskatchewan
Ancient Geology of Medicine Mountain: Roots of the Continent, rock folds of all eras from the first to now, climbing to the peak: backward in time.
1st Magnitude Stars Table in order of brightness, with conventional and Lakota names, constellation locations, and northern visibilities.
Star knowledge study with naked eye; simple skywatch party, learning the sky, using hands as measuring instruments
Books on-line (and reviews) on Native Star Knowledge. On-line Bookstore selects for credit-card cordering from Anazon.com.
Teaching and learning resources on internet, in catalogs, books for the beginning hobbyist or teacher.

  • Stone Medicine Wheels Bibliography

  • AMERICAN INDIAN ASTRONOMY TEACHER GUIDE, TEACHER INFORMATION, STUDENT ACTIVITIES, (Middle School, grade 5, see book review); By Priscilla Buffalohead illustrated by Robert DesJarlait -- covers lightly for elementary level ideas treated in more depth here for older students and teacher science background

  • Crab Nebula Supernova, 1054 was visible in the daytime for 20 days. It was recorded by Natives in Chaco Canyon and elsewhere. Check out the rest of this Anasazi site.

    • Von Del Chamberlain one of the early discoverers of many Crab Nebula supernova petroglyphs, says too many people are now saying every petroglyph is astronomical -- thus discrediting the ones that really are

    BRIEF PERCEPTIONS of Astronomical Phenomena, Menominee, recorded by Colleen Waukanchon:

  • Center for Archaeoastronomy explains what it is, has some very short editorials and articles from back issues of its bulletin. Perhaps there will bemore content to the website later

    • Ethno-archaeoastronomy brief article by Claire Ferrer about difficulties of collecting star knowledge from Mescalero Apache -- only a couple of old men knew it, and they were religiously forbidden to speak of it to women.

  • History of Astronomy including ethnic and archaeoastronomy, web site mostly for astronomers, Max Planck Institute, Germany.

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CREDITS: I drew the Lakota-style quilt sun-star in FreeHand and converted it to raster for these pages -- but to get it right, I had to look at the star on my actual quilt (by Elaine Brave Bull, Hunkpapa Lakota from Standing rock rez). The 3 natives marvelling at the moon -- some kind of eclipse -- was drawn by John Fadden (Mohawk artist) in 1970 or so, to illustrate a book of traditional stories by his father, elder Ray Fadden (Tehanatorens), several of which are star legends. It was then published in Akwesasne Notes. I scanned and traced it in FreeHand, to use with Heart of the Earth AIM Survival School Indian-centered science material prepared in 1993.

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Awards given to this Aboriginal Astronomy section

Page prepared by Paula Giese , text and graphics c. 1995, 1996, 1997

Last updated: 16/4/97