Earth and Sky: Visions of the Cosmos in Native American Folklore

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Native American starlore has instructed and entertained non-natives for generations. Yet until recently the importance of this extensive body of tradition and acute observation has been ignored or viewed by non-natives simply as crude means to astronomical insight. In this edited collection, seventeen folklorists and astronomers consider American starlore and its relation to specific observation of the sky in terms of its native uses and interpretations. Far from being another recount of sky mythology, this is a ...
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Overview

Native American starlore has instructed and entertained non-natives for generations. Yet until recently the importance of this extensive body of tradition and acute observation has been ignored or viewed by non-natives simply as crude means to astronomical insight. In this edited collection, seventeen folklorists and astronomers consider American starlore and its relation to specific observation of the sky in terms of its native uses and interpretations. Far from being another recount of sky mythology, this is a book that relates clear descriptions of astronomical phenomena and mechanics to interpretation and ritual usage from all areas of North America. Navajo, Seneca, Alabama, Pawnee, Lakota, Apache, and other peoples are represented. Rather than focus on pristine astronomies, the contributors to this volume consider ongoing traditions and contemporary usages. A broad perspective on the exciting new field of ethnoastronomy, as well as fascinating insight into Native American wisdom.
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Editorial Reviews

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A collection of 17 essays by folklorists and astronomers, who consider the starlore of Native Americans and explain its relation to specific observations in terms of its cultural uses and interpretations. They draw from past and contemporary belief and practice in tribes throughout North America. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826315533
  • Publisher: University of New Mexico Press
  • Publication date: 2/29/2000
  • Pages: 307
  • Product dimensions: 6.08 (w) x 9.07 (h) x 0.96 (d)

Table of Contents

1 Introduction: The Animating Breath 1
2 Cosmos and Poesis in the Seneca Thank-You Prayer 25
3 The Celestial Skiff: An Alabama Myth of the Stars 52
4 "...by you they will know the directions to guide them": Stars and Mescalero Apaches 67
5 Morning Star, Evening Star: Zuni Traditional Stories 75
6 Navajo Earth and Sky and the Celestial Life Force 101
7 The Hooghan and the Stars 110
8 Saguaro Wine, Ground Figures, and Power Mountains: Investigations at Sears Point, Arizona 131
9 Menil (Moon): Symbolic Representation of Cahuilla Woman 162
10 Racing Simloki's Shadow: The Ajumawi Interconnection of Power, Shadow, Equinox, and Solstice 184
11 North Pacific Ethnoastronomy: Tsimshian and Others 193
12 Clot-of-Blood 207
13 On the Necessity of Sacrifice in Lakota Stellar Theology as Seen in "The Hand" Constellation, and the Story of "The Chief Who Lost His Arm" 215
14 The Chief and His Council: Unity and Authority from the Stars 221
15 The Conjurer's Lodge: Celestial Narratives from Algonkian Shamans 236
16 Asking the Stars: Narrative Indicators of Seneca Hunting Ceremonial 260
17 Epilogue: Blue Archaeoastronomy 278
Index 291
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