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Native American Astronomy - Windows to the Universe

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This map shows the general area where Native American tribes lived. Please note that this is not a comprehensive map of all Native American tribes, but it does show the location of those tribes that will be discussed in fuller detail.
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Native American Astronomy

People have been living in North America for a long, long time. The first people to live there were the Native Americans.

They didn't have clocks or calendars so they watched tides, the Sun, the Moon, animals and plants to tell what time of the day or what time of the year it was. For example, they could tell that winter was ending when the bears awoke from hibernation. What's one way you could tell summer is starting without looking at a calendar?

Native Americans also kept track of the Moon. They watched it go from a Full Moon to a New Moon and back to a Full Moon - that's called a cycle! They named these cycles after what was happening at the time. One tribe named one cycle "laying geese" and another cycle "coming caribou". What would you name a cycle that took place mostly in December?

Let's look at some specific Native American tribes: the Pawnee tribe, the Chumash tribe, the Zuni tribe, and the Anasazi of Chaco Canyon.

Last modified September 8, 2000 by Jennifer Bergman.

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