Star Knowledge

Lakota lands are among the best natural observatories in the U.S. An enormous amount of information about Lakota cosmology and spirituality can be learned through Lakota star knowledge. Early observers relied on empirical evidence to support creation narratives, and these celestial bodies and behaviors are still observable today through naked-eye astronomy. Through a partnership with the Journey Museum in Rapid City and a grant from NASA, CAIRNS brought a group of middle school students from Spring Creek, in Rosebud Reservation, on a trip to observe the night sky, learn traditional Lakota explanations for celestial phenomena, and visit the GeoDome at the Journey Museum. Along with a DVD documenting this experience, CAIRNS produced a field guide for astronomers interested in Lakota star knowledge. Both can be acquired through the educational resources page.

Above: Detail of Lakota Star Knowledge, 2014.

Left: Detail from Tender Reverence, 2014.