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Lakota Myth about Constellation of The Hand - Windows to the Universe

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Lakota hand constellation. The index finger is the bright star Rigel while the thumb is the Orion Nebula. Orion's belt makes up the wrist. The pinky is held by Beta Eridani, a star in the constellation Eridanis.
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Constellation of The Hand

According to the Lakota, the Constellation of the Hand, namely the bottom half of the constellation Orion, represents the arm of a great Lakota chief. The gods wanted to punish the Lakota's chief for his selfishness and made the Thunder People rip out his arm. The chief's daughter offered to marry anyone who would recover her father's arm.

Fallen Star, a young warrior whose father was a star and whose mother was human, returned the arm and married the daughter. The return of the arm to the chief symbolizes harmony between the gods and the people with the help of the younger generation.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF