Indigenous Astronomy

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All The Stars In The Sky: Native Stories From The Heavens
Author: C.J. Taylor
Format: Hardcover
  • B.C. Science Supplementary Resource: Gr.3-Earth and Life Science

    The heavens, the sun, the stars, and the moon, have inspired, intrigued, and mystified us from the beginning of time. We've always searched for ways to comprehend their beauty and their meaning. Mohawk artist and author C. J. Taylor has drawn from First Nations legends from across North America to present a fascinating collection of stories inspired by the night skies.

    The legends, Salish, Onondaga, Blackfoot, Netsilik (Inuit), Wasco, Ojibwa, and Cherokee, are by turns funny, beautiful, tragic, and frightening, but each one is infused with a sense of awe.

    From the Ojibwa legend of the great hunter, White Hawk, and his love for an unattainable maiden, or the Salish legend of a magical lake that is threatened when human beings turn greedy and lose their respect for its gifts and for the sun’s power, to the delightful Cherokee legend of Grandmother Spider who brought light to the world, this is an important collection that is enhanced by Taylor’s glorious paintings.
    Ages 9-12


In Re-Print
Beneath Raven Moon
Author: David Bouchard
Traditional Territory: Kwakwaka'wakw, Métis
Format: Hardcover
  • There are as many Creation stories as there are First Nations on Turtle Island. The story of a Great Flood is known to indigenous people in every corner of the world. But what about the Moon? Who made her? What was her intended purpose?

    Beneath Raven Moon is an enchanting tale of the creation of Grandmother Moon and of the first time she wove her spell on a young, unsuspecting couple.

    The story unfolds in the territory of the Kwakwaka’wakw people – now also known as British Columbia’s Inside Passage – where Raven and Eagle join together in good-natured conspiracy to foster a heart-warming romance.

    Follow the magical vision of Métis author David Bouchard and Kwakwaka’wakw artist Andy Everson to learn why Raven found it necessary to bless us with the heavenly sphere that guides we two-leggeds and illuminates our night sky. And enjoy the enchantment of the music and flute of Mary Youngblood as you sit in wonder ... Beneath Raven Moon.


Big Bear
Traditional Territory: Kanyen'kehà:ka
Format: Paperback
  • Through the seasons, the stars move across the night sky. One set of stars tells the story of seven hunters chasing a big bear. Follow the stars through each season to discover the story. This Kanyen'kehà:ka (Gan-yeh-ga-ha-ga) story is about not giving up on your goals. The Kanyen'kehà:ka is one of Six Nations that together are the Haudenosaunee.


Byron Through the Seasons
Author: Dene Children
Traditional Territory: Dene
Format: Paperback
  • B.C. Science Supplementary Resource: Gr.1- Earth and Space Science

    Favored selection by the Canadian Childrens Book Centre, Byron Through the Seasons A Dene-English Story Book recalls early aspects of Dene lifestyle, from tanning and medicine to camping and food preservation.


In Re-Print
Coyote and the Sky How the Sun, Moon, and Stars Began
Author: Emmett Garcia
Format: Hardcover
  • B.C. Science Supplementary Resource: Gr.3-Earth and Life Science

    According to Santa Ana Pueblo legend, the animals' spirit Leader created the sun, moon, and stars by using woven yucca mats and hot coals. He selected certain animals to climb from their homes in the Third World up to the Fourth World. The Squirrel, the Rabbit, and the Badger were all allowed to go. The Coyote, however, was forbidden to accompany them because he was always causing trouble and stealing food from the others.

    Regardless of what he was told, Coyote refused to stay in the Third World. He found a hiding place and waited for a chance to follow the animals to the Fourth World. When the other animals discovered Coyote, they summoned the Leader to the Fourth World to deal with him. Coyote's punishment is a lesson in what happens to animals, or people, when they refuse to obey instructions.

    Writing for the younger reader, Emmett "Shkeme" Garcia, a member of the Santa Ana tribe, shares his Pueblo's story of the beginnings of the stars and constellations. Victoria Pringle's illustrations provide visual elements that enhance the action of the story.

    All ages.


Coyote Places the Stars
Format: Paperback
  • Grade 1-5-Based on a Wasco Native American legend, this dramatically illustrated pourquoi tale explains the designs of the constellations. It is the curious coyote who decides to discover the secrets of the heavens by creating a ladder of arrows he shoots into the sky. Once in the heavens, he moves the stars around forming the shapes of his animal friends, and he calls them all together to enjoy his handiwork. The simple, quickly moving text is luminously illustrated with colorful border designs around some of the text as well as full-and double-page spreads of the constellations, Southwestern landscape, and animals, created by painting dyes on cotton fabric and detailing with the wax-resist batik method. This technique affords an effective white outline of important objects. The onomatopoetic language makes this a natural tale for classroom reading, but the artwork can be best appreciated by independent readers.


Hold Up the Sky: And Other Native American Tales from Texas and the Southern Plains
Format: Paperback
  • Nearly all that remains of some Indian tribes of Texas and the Southern Plains are their stories. Here twenty-six tales are brought together from fourteen tribes and at least five different cultures. They are stories of humor, guidance, and adventure that have been passed down through the generations.

    From the Tejas story that explains how the universe began, to the Lipan Apache tale in which a small lizard smartly outwits a hungry coyote, these stories are sure to delight young readers. Additional information about each tribe is included in the "About the Storytellers" section.

    Once again Jane Louise Curry has skillfully retold traditional tales of Native Americans. Hold Up the Sky is in keeping with the style of her previous, highly acclaimed collections of Native American stories, Back in the Beforetime, The Wonderful Sky Boat, and Turtle Island. This, too, is a collection to be treasured.


How Raven Stole the Sun (Tales of the People)
Author: Maria Williams
Traditional Territory: Tlingit
Format: Hardcover
  • A long time ago, Raven was pure white, like fresh snow in winter. This was so long ago that the only light came from campfires, because a greedy chief kept the stars, moon, and sun locked up in elaborately carved boxes. Determined to free them, the shape-shifting Raven resourcefully transformed himself into the chief's baby grandson and cleverly tricked him into opening the boxes and releasing the starlight and moonlight. Though tired of being stuck in human form, Raven maintained his disguise until he got the chief to open the box with the sun and flood the world with daylight, at which point he gleefully transformed himself back into a raven. When the furious chief locked him in the house, Raven was forced to escape through the small smokehole at the top--and that's why ravens are now black as smoke instead of white as snow.

    This engaging Tlingit story is brought to life in painted illustrations that convey a sense of the traditional life of the Northwest Coast peoples.


How the Stars Fell Into the Sky
Author: Jerrie Oughton
Format: Paperback
  • This retelling of a Navajo folktale explains how First Woman tried to write the laws of the land using stars in the sky, only to be thwarted by the trickster Coyote.


Keepers of the Night: Native Stories and Nocturnal Activities for Children
Traditional Territory: Abenaki, Akwesasne Mohawk
Format: Paperback
  • B.C. Science Supplementary Resource: Gr.3-Earth and Life Science

    B.C. Science Supplementary Resouce Gr.4- Life Science

    Native lore, stories, and activities encourage children to explore the fascinating night world. By studying astronomy, Native beliefs, nighttime weather, and North American nocturnal plants and animals, children aged 5 to 12 learn to appreciate the importance of night in the natural cycle and overcome common fears about the nighttime world.

    Filled with interdisciplinary activities, legends, and illustrations to inspire children and educators alike.


Mouse Celebrates the Winter Solstice
Author: Terri Mack
Traditional Territory: Kwakwaka'wakw
Format: Paperback
  • It is winter. The land lies still, quiet and stark beneath a blanket of snow. The tiny footprints of a mouse can be seen in the light of the moon.

    "Wrapped in the quiet, and there in the bleak, there stood a wise mouse, preparing to speak."

    The words that mouse chose were from many years past. She spoke them into the cold night air. So begins the enchanting story of a very special Winter Solstice celebration.

    Kwakwaka’wakw author Terri Mack and Tsimshian artist Bill Helin have collaborated to bring us this story of strength, friendship and celebration. The lyrical text and engaging illustrations will appeal to readers of all ages.

    Author's note:

    I spent a year writing and rewriting this poem to be sure to convey the message clearly to my audience. It was important to me that the poem reflect the importance of us all joining together to find the sacredness in celebration, the joy of belonging within a greater community and the voice of determination inside of each of us. Inspired by Indigenous Peoples rising, healing and joining together I hope that this poem inspires our youth to be strong and determined in all their future goals.
    ~Terri Mack

    Book Dimensions: 9in x 12in
    Pages: 24
    ISBN: 9781771740555


Muin and the Seven Bird Hunters
Format: Paperback
  • The story of Muin and the Seven Bird Hunters is a very old Mi'kmaq legend. It happens in the North Sky as the stars that show the story of Muin and the Seven Bird Hunters move around Tatapn, the North Star. The Mi'kmaq know that the sky is just the same as the earth, only up above and older. All through the year, as the stars and planets travel through the sky, the Mi'kmaq watch the story of Muin and the hunters as it unfolds before their eyes.


Painted Skies
Author: Carolyn Mallory
Format: Hardcover
  • Leslie is new to the Arctic, and no one told her there would be so much snow, and so many interesting animals to see. Along with her new friend, Oolipika, Leslie soon discovers one the Arctic's most unique and breathtaking natural wonders, the northern lights.

    Having never seen such lights before, Leslie is understandably shocked by them. Oolipika, on the other hand, knows that the ancient lights are more than just colours, and that the mischievous, playful spirits that the northern lights hold can be dangerous.

    This contemporary narrative introduces young readers to an Inuit legend about the northern lights, followed by an epilogue that explains the science behind this amazing natural phenomenon.


Format: Paperback
  • In 2005, SkySisters was the award recipient for First Nation Communities Read.

    B.C. Science Supplementary Resource: Gr.3-Earth and Life Science

    Two Ojibway sisters set off across the frozen north country to see the SkySpirits midnight dance. It isn't easy for the younger sister to be silent, but gradually she begins to treasure the stillness and the wonderful experiences it brings. After
    an exhilarating walk and patient waiting, the girls are rewarded by the arrival of the SkySpirits - the Northern Lights - dancing and shimmering in the night sky. This powerful story, with its stunning illustrations, captures the chill of a northern night, the warmth of the family circle and the radiance of a child's wonder.


Skywatcher's Companion
Author: Stan Shadick
Format: Paperback
  • Skywatcher's Companion: Constellations and Their Mythology
    A Starry Starry Night Discovery Book (series)

    A colourful and informative sidekick to Stan Shadick's hugely popular Skywatchers Calendar

    The star-studded night sky is the biggest movie screen in the universe, and it has fired the human imagination ever since our ancestors first looked up in awe and marvelled at its grandeur and its mysterious twinkling lights. Over the last 5,000 years, people from many different cultures have been inspired to create stories about the formations that the sky's billions of stars seem to make.

    Each culture's stories, or myths, are known collectively as a mythology. They were created to explain mysteries of the natural world, such as why storms occur, why the seasons change and why crows do not sing like other birds. Among the first people to tell these stories were the ancient kingdoms of Mesopotamia, located roughly where the country of Iraq is today. As these kingdoms grew and prospered, mythological beliefs came to be tied to the heavens above. Star formations were attributed to the gods-for if not the work of the greatest gods, what could these jewel-like objects, so beautiful and constantly changing, possibly be?-and often represented legendary heroes on Earth who had somehow earned an eternal place in the night sky. Storytellers made up new tales to explain how the lives and actions of those gods influenced the lives of humans.

    These myths give us insights into how ancient people tried to make sense of the world they lived in and the sky above it. Learning about the constellations and their mythology is the focus of this book; future books in this new series will explore other aspects of our starry, starry nights.


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