The sky is an important part of the northern world, full of wonder, heritage, and wisdom. People have used it as a map to navigate great distances on land and water, and also to trace their histories and teachings since time immemorial. Like many other cultures, northern Indigenous peoples have a long and intimate relationship with the sky, drawing stories, wisdom, philosophy, history, and teachings from the sun, moon, stars and aurora. This project aims to enhance curriculum at the community level by documenting local and regional knowledge of the sky and helping to facilitate intergenerational learning that might otherwise be lost with the passing of older generations.
A working group is being developed in the South Slave region to collaborate on collecting and sharing knowledge and stories about our sky. The current group includes Aurora Research Institute, Astronomy North, Thebacha and Wood Buffalo Astronomical Society, South Slave Divisional Education Council, and Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre. Our vision is to engage Aboriginal governments, Traditional Knowledge experts, and cultural heritage and educational organizations as well.
The first step of the project will be to connect with local knowledge holders to learn about and document the wisdom and stories related to the South Slave sky. The Legendary Sky Project has already started collecting a database of knowledge, stories, terminology, and artifacts about the northern sky in the Sahtu, Gwich’in and Inuvialuit regions. The work in the South Slave will contribute to this territory-wide resource.
The second part of the project will be to develop sky-based teaching modules that are grounded in the local culture and that offer young learners the chance to learn local Indigenous knowledge and stories alongside scientific knowledge. The intention is that these may be used as a model for other regions in the NWT.
For more information about the Legendary Sky Project, please visit: www.legendarysky.ca