Essay Native American Astronomy

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Native American Astronomy For many years astronomers and people alike have constantly heard about the observations and records of the Chinese and Europeans. No other culture can provide as much information as that gathered by the Chinese and Europeans, but there are many other cultures that observed and recorded the night sky, one of those being the Native Americans. During the last fifteen to twenty years archaeoastronomers have uncovered much concerning the beliefs and records of Native Americans. Unfortunately, the methods of keeping records of astronomical events were not as straight forward as the Chinese and Europeans. The Native Americans had to use what they could to record what they observed. Their records were found on rock…show more content…
The Pawnee have a story about a person named Pahokatawa, who was killed by an enemy and eaten by animals, and then brought back to life by the Gods. The legend goes that he fell to earth as a meteor and told the people that when meteors were seen falling in great numbers it was not a sign that the world would end. When the pawnee tribe witnessed the time the stars fell upon the earth, which was in 1833, there was a panic, but the leader said, “remember the words of Pahokatawa” and the people were no longer afraid. This shows how powerful a role astronomy played in the Native American culture. Although the Pawnee learned not to be afraid there were Native Americans who feared meteors. The Blackfeet of Montana believed a meteor was a sign that sickness would come to the tribe in the winter the Kawaiisu thought a meteor started high and fell to the horizon was an omen of death. The Cahuilla thought a meteor was the spirit of their first shaman, takwich, who was disliked his people. Takwich wandered the sky at night looking for people far from their tribe. If he found a lost person he steal their spirit and the person home and eat them. The Shawnee believed meteors were beings fleeing from the wrath of some adversary, or from some anticipated danger.(Howard 178) Many Native Americans saw the stars as heavenly and mystical. The Wintu explained meteors as the spirits of shamans traveling to the after life. The
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