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Native American Astronomy

Much is being discovered about Native American astronomy. It is well known that most Native Americans felt a strong connection with nature and the earth. They were great observers of the sky, and their calenders reflect this. Native American astronomy abounds through calenders which reflect the passing of time based upon celestial events. For instance, some calenders were based upon the pattern of Venus. Others based their year upon the constellation Taurus and its cyclic patterns.

Native American astronomy can also be seen in the architecture of many Native American groups. The Oglala Sioux used this concept when erecting their poles for their Sun Dance lodge. The use of 28 poles represents the rotation of the moon. The Mescalero Apache would only move in a clockwise position inside their buildings. This was because the sun was thought to move clockwise around the Earth.

The Navajo incorporated Native American astronomy into their homes and lifestyles on a daily basis. Four poles were used in their homes, each standing for north, south, east, and west. The Navajo always had their doors facing east. The North Star was significant to the Navajo, as it represented the fire that burned in the center of a Navajo home. Native American astronomy can also be seen in their chosen landmarks. Certain sites were used as observatories. These landmarks were used to observe the winter and summer solstice through light and shadows.

There is much yet to be uncovered about Native American astronomy. What has been uncovered has shown that Native Americans were great observers and very well informed about space. The Native Americans of history were very intelligent persons.


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