Star Lore Art

Native Skywatchers

2012 - 2016

In 2009, a dedicated group of professional astronomers, professional artists, language and cultural experts, educators, community members and Native American elders formed Native Skywatchers, a group dedicated to the preservation of star lore and astronomical knowledge of Native American nations. Their findings have been published by the St. Cloud State University and by UC Santa Barbara.

Between 2012 and 2016, the group presented three comprehensive maps of the northern skies:

Ojibwe Giizhig Anung Masinaaigan - Ojibwe Sky Star Map

D(L)akota Makoċe Wiċaŋḣpi Wowapior - D(L)akota Star Map

Ininew Achakos Masinikan - Cree Star Map

The maps for the Ojibwe and Dakota were accompanied by extensive constellation guides.
Descriptions for the Cree map can be found in the writings of Wilfred Buck.

Using the material mentioned above, I have put together short constellation guides for the Cree, Dakota & Lakota and Ojibwe. (Click the links).

The images below are cutouts of the large copies of the complete maps, which are shown at the end of this presentation. There are no larger versions of the cutouts, but clicking on the complete maps at the end of the presentation leads to large versions of the complete maps.

Copyright information:

Ojibwe Constellation Guide and Ojibwe Sky Star Map:
Written by Annette Lee, William Wilson, Jeff Tibbets and Carl Gawboy © 2012

Dakota Constellation Guide and Dakota Star Map: Written by Annette Lee and Jim Rock © 2012

Cree Star Map: Created by Wilfred Buck, Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre, Inc. © 2016

Dakota Star Map
Nape - Chief's Hand
Orion, Eridanus
Maşo Tipi/Maşo Tipila - Bear's Lodge
Tayamni - three parts of the Buffalo
Orion, Canis Major, Pleiades*
* The image also shows a red circle, representing the "Sacred Hoop", an asterism similar to the Winter Hexagon.
Zuzeca - Snake
Columba, Puppis, Canis Major
To Win - Blue Woman*;
Wiçaƞlipi Waziyata - stands in one place

Ursa Major, Polaris
Wakiƞyaƞ - Thunderbird
Orion, Draco, Ursa Minor
* The Big Dipper has a number of different meanings in Dakota Astronomy. For details see the star lore of Ursa Major.
Keya - Turtle
Agle¶ka -Salamander
Oçeti/Peta -Fireplace/Fire

Ojibwe Sky Star Map
Mishi bizhiw - Great Panther with Curly Tail
Leo, Cancer
Madoodiswan - Sweat Lodge;
Noondeshin Bemaadizid - Sweating Person

Corona Borealis, Hercules
Maang - Loon
Ursa Minor
Ojiig - Fisher
Ursa Major
Mooz - Moose
Pegasus, Lacerta
Ajiijaak - Crane
Biboonkeonini - Wintermaker
Orion, Procyon, Aldebaran
Nanaboujou - Hero

Cree Star Map
Nipin Pinisew

Scorpius, Serpens
Grandmother Spider

Wisakaychak & Atchakos Ahkoop
Teacher & Star Blanket

Orion & Pleiades
Ocik Atchakosuk, Sisikwun & Makinak - Fisher, Rattle & Turtle
Ursa Minor, Cepheus
Niska - Goose
Mista Muskwa - Bear
Ursa Major

Complete Maps
Dakota Star Map Ojibwe Star Map Cree Star Map
The Cree Star Map was created in 2016 by Wilfred Buck.

Ojibwe and (D)Lakota maps have been created in 2012 by astronomer and artist Annette Lee.

Source of the large versions of the maps: Science Friday on Twitter.

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