Astronomy is one of the oldest natural sciences. As long as humans have been able to look up at the sky, we have done so, wondering what our place is in the universe, where we came from, and how the universe itself came to be. Many (if not all) ancient civilizations have creation stories of how the universe came to be, and of constellations and celestial objects. As we started our new unit of Earth and Space exploration, we had the pleasure of having master orator Jim Adams share Aboriginal stories about celestial objects, constellations, and the universe as a whole.
We first heard a story about Sky Woman, which connected the Earth and the sky. Next, we heard about Atima and Atchaksuk, the dog and light/star respectively. Lastly, we heard three stories about constellations. The first story was one about a wolf which related to the little dipper. The second story was about Mista Muskwa (the big bear) which is commonly known as Ursa Major which has the Big Dipper as part of it. The last story was about the Pleiades constellation. By the end of the class, students were still thirsty for more stories. We may have to call in Jim again in order to appease the students’ desire to hear more Aboriginal stories.