By George E. Lankford
Glossy Westerners say the lighting within the sky are stars, yet culturally they're no matter what we people say they're. a few say they're Forces that ensure human lives, a few claim they're burning gaseous plenty, and a few see them as reminders of a gloried prior through which elders can educate and consultant the young—mnemonics for narratives. Lankford’s quantity specializes in the traditional North americans and the methods they pointed out, patterned, ordered, and used the celebs to gentle their tradition and remove darkness from their traditions. They knew them as areas which may be visited via human spirits, and so the lighting for them weren't far away issues of sunshine, yet “reachable stars.” Guided by way of the evening sky and its constellations, they created oral traditions, or myths, that contained their knowledge and which they used to cross directly to succeeding generations their specific international view. in spite of the fact that, they didn't all inform an identical tales. This examine makes use of that fact—patterns of contract and disagreement—to become aware of prehistoric relationships among Indian teams. Which teams observed a constellation within the similar means and instructed an analogous tale? How did that occur? even if those preliterate societies left no written documents, the mythic styles throughout generations and cultures permit modern researchers to ascertain the variations in how they understood the universe—not as early scientists, yet as creators of cosmic order. within the means of doing that, the myth-tellers left the footprints in their overseas cultural relationships at the back of them. handy Stars is the tale in their tales.
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Extra resources for Reachable Stars: Patterns in the Ethnoastronomy of Eastern North America
Dorsey, under the auspices of the Field Columbian Museum, published, in addition to the Arikara collection, two volumes of Pawnee myths and one each for the Wichita and Caddo (Dorsey 1904a, 1904c, 1905b, 1906). Those volumes make it possible to identify aspects of the Arikara corpus that are consistent with those of their fellow Caddoan speakers. Dorsey noted that the Arikara separated from the Skidi Pawnee, whose dialect is very close to Arikara, in the 1830s, but Parks later put that in clearer context, noting that the separation marked the end of a fairly recent living arrangement rather than an original split: “The original group or groups who ultimately became the Arikaras were the vanguard of those Caddoans who migrated north to Nebraska and beyond and who were settled along Four Ethnoastronomies 23 the Missouri River in South Dakota in the eighteenth century when Europeans ¤rst encountered them” (Parks 1996:22).
The Bright Star was the son of the Star Husband and the woman who fell through a hole in the sky. The Crow Grandson myth follows that story with the lengthy adventures of the young hero. He ended his exciting earthly life by becoming the Morning Star, which is Sirius, the brightest star in the sky. It, too, has a calendrical function, for its annual disappearance from the night sky tells the Crow that spring is near. Although the planet Venus (and perhaps others) can also be called Morning Star, Crazy Star (because of the color changes displayed), and Day Star when it appears on its own schedule, there are no stories about it.
Lected texts from the rebounding Arikara population in the 1980s, he was able to record 176 texts from a group of narrators in North Dakota (Parks 1991). Those collections make it possible to attempt an assessment of the ethnoastronomical lore of the Arikara, even though their history is tangled and their population loss makes it likely that the information that still remains is only a shadow of what formerly existed. Such an attempt is important for several reasons. The Arikara are the northernmost group of speakers of the Caddoan language, and the collections of Caddoan myth texts are signi¤cant.