American Indian Education Program

Monthly Newsletter - February 2023

Boozhoo District 196 Teachers!

This month's Indian Education Newsletter will focus on Indigenous Star Knowledge.

Background Photo: ‘WE’ MURAL TAPESTRY, by Dakota artist Marlena Myles in BLOOMINGTON’S SOUTH LOOP

According to Dakota star knowledge, We believe We come from the stars and Bdote, the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers near Bloomington, is the place of origin for Dakota people and where the Kapemni (mirroring) is strongest. Dakota people buried their dead often along the Mississippi River, as that is reflected above us as the Milky Way, the spirit road that we travel in the afterlife according to Dakota beliefs. In Bloomington, Mound Springs Park features a number of such mounds and included more, which were destroyed in recent times such as the Lincoln Burial Mounds (destroyed for the construction of the Bloomington Central Station). (Full artist statement)

MN State Science Standards:

Grade 3:

3E. Gather information and communicate how Minnesota American Indian Tribes and communities and other cultures use patterns in stars to make predictions and plans.

Grade 6:

6E. Communicate how a series of models, including those used by Minnesota American Indian Tribes and communities and other cultures, are used to explain how motion in the Earth-Sun-Moon system causes the cyclic patterns of lunar phases, eclipses and seasons.

SciGirls - Dakota Stars

Photo is of Emily, Wicahpi and Siena - the Indigenous SciGirls.

Check out their upcoming episode on TPT where the SciGirls learn about their Dakota culture and traditional star knowledge. Episode airs on February 3rd.

The Indigenous SciGirls will explore the value of honoring both Indigenous and western knowledge for the benefit of everyone and learn how Indigenous astronomy aligns with Western science through the understanding that we all come from the stars! Emily, Wicahpi and Sienna learn how modern science connects to the star knowledge their Dakota ancestors passed down. The girls celebrate their cultural heritage and channel their passions for art and science by creating an art piece they share with NASA

SciGirls: Dakota Stars (episode #601) program will be: Friday, 2/3/23 at 12:30 pm on TPT 2 then repeated on Sunday, 2/5/23 at 11:30 am on the TPT Life channel.

February 3rd will also be the date when this episode will be available to public TV stations across the country and for streaming on NASA TV and SciGirls digital platforms (YouTube, SciGirls Connect,

Native Skywatchers

Designed by Annette S. Lee (2007), the Native Skywatchers initiative seeks to remember and revitalize indigenous star and earth knowledge. The overarching goal of Native Skywatchers is to communicate the knowledge that indigenous people traditionally practiced a sustainable way of living and sustainable engineering through a living and participatory relationship with the above and below, sky and earth.

Ojiig (Fisher) - The Ojibwe Big Dipper

Carl Gawboy - Telling the Story of Ojiig Fisher

Carl Gawboy presents the Ojibwe Constellation, Ojiig (Fisher), produced by Carl Gawboy, Tim Seaton, and Annette S. Lee. Native Skywatchers

Copyright © 2020 Native Skywatchers. All rights reserved. Any commercial use (including universities, grant writing, publications, for-profit venues, museums, cultural institutions, etc. requires prior written permission of the copyright owner.

Email inquiries to:

Dakota Star Knowledge -- "We Come From The Stars" (Video)

We Are Water MN - created by Marlena Myles. Narrated by Jim Rock, UMD Alworth Planetarium Program Director and Dakota Astronomer as he shares his traditional knowledge of the connections with sky and earth. He also speaks of the burial mounds and sacred Wakan Tipi cave in Saint Paul, Minnesota, which speak to our celestial origins.
Big picture

Lakota Star Knowledge

For Lakota, Traditional Astronomy is Key to Their Culture’s Past and Future: One Sicangu Oyate Lakota man has studied his tribe’s star knowledge for decades, keeping ancient beliefs and science alive for younger generations.

Lakota Parallels: Investigating Parallels Between Lakota Star Knowledge and NASA Space Science Knowledge

Additional Resources:

Fallen Stars and Devil's Tower

North Star Romance