Relearning The Star Stories Of Indigenous People
Indigenous people of North America believe that we humans come from the stars. They assigned different meanings to different patterns of stars, giving them names. In other words, they discovered their constellations, very different from the ones that we know today. When we look at and study constellations, we think about in the context of Greek and Roman culture. This is what most of us around the world have grown up learning. In this way, the stories of indigenous people who also have stories and interpretations of the stars, which are different from the ones we generally hear. For example, Andromeda, Perseus, and Hercules are all part of Roman and Greek mythology. North American indigenous people interpret constellations and galaxies to be sweat lodges, thunderbirds, bears, etc.
Everyone does different things to make the world make sense to them. The North American indigenous tribes saw figures in stars and constellations. The people in Ancient Rome and Greece, to help them make sense of the world outside the Earth. The only difference is that the former’s ideas got lost amidst the process of colonization by the European countries centuries ago. Preserving the culture of the indigenous tribes as part of an effort of Canada, that began in 2008. It is a way to begin righting wrongs done to native North Americans by colonizers.
Gatherings To Exchange Indigenous Star Stories
In Canada and the United States, some people get together with people that are experts at the stories of indigenous people. Those people who know their stories by heart, even if they are not part of the community themselves. It is indeed quite heartwarming. These people all get together at a sweat lodge and exchange stories about indigenous people’s culture, including astronomy and any ceremonies that take place. They talk about the science behind the Earth and its movements, such as its rotation along the axis, northern lights, the stars in the night sky, etc. They tell people these stories and spread the knowledge and culture of indigenous people as much as they can. One such gathering or group that does this is known as Tipis and Telescopes.
Another place where you can find out more about stars is at the Canada Science and Technology Museum in Ottawa. Over there is a hundred-year-old telescope that displays radio astronomy, and you may even find more interesting the different languages in which the museum has placard information – it’s in French, Dakota, and the Cree languages, a total of five languages. The displays of stars in the museums consist of different constellations. The ones that we know, of Roman and Greek origin, are in muted colors, while the ones of indigenous origin, such as fishers, thunderbirds, the Mista Muskwa (what we know as the Big Bear), etc. are all on top of it in bright colors. Hence, in these displays, we see a true reversal of roles when it comes to one culture overpowering another.