Shop Windows to the Universe

Arches National Park Geology Tour provides an extensive, visually rich description of the geology of Arches, by Deborah Ragland, Ph.D. See our DVD collection.
A Pawnee brave named Petalesharow in classic headdress. He was painted by Charles B. King.
Click on image for full size
Corel Photography

The Skidi Band of the Pawnee Tribe

The Skidi Band of the Pawnee tribe were some of the most advanced starwatchers of North America. They originally lived in villages in Nebraska. They were forced to move to reservations in Oklahoma at the end of the 1800's.

Long ago, society in the Skidi Band was complex and ordered. Human social rank was based on the ranking of the star gods. You see, the Pawnee saw the stars as gods who interacted with humans. These stars or gods were ranked in order of importance.

The star ranking is:

  • 1st - The Red Morning Star Warrior (probably Mars) who mated with female Evening Star (probably Venus) to produce the first humans
  • 2nd - The four gods who supported the heavens - they were located at NW, NE, SW, SE
  • 3rd - The Sun, the Moon, and then the gods of the four cardinal directions (N, E, S, W)

Much of Pawnee life was based on the stars in the heavens. They had shrines dedicated to certain stars. They didn't have a calendar, because the position of the stars told the people when certain events were suppose to happen. The stars were so important that the Skidi Band began to note where the stars were in relation to each other. And so, the Skidi Band are known to have drawn star charts long ago.

The Pawnee people watched the sky and the stars closely because their mythology, their social and religious rituals, and even their social divisions depended on it.

Last modified September 9, 2000 by Jennifer Bergman.

Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!

The Fall 2009 issue of The Earth Scientist, which includes articles on student research into building design for earthquakes and a classroom lab on the composition of the Earth’s ancient atmosphere, is available in our online store.

Windows to the Universe Community

News

Opportunities

You might also be interested in:

Cool It! Game

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

Native American Astronomy

People from Asia crossed the Bering Strait into North America. These people were first in this new land and so they are known as Native Americans. Over time, these people broke into tribes (as seen on...more

Archeoastronomy

"The movements of the heavenly bodies are an admirable thing, well known and manifest to all peoples. There are no people, no matter how barbaric and primitive, that do not raise up their eyes, take note,...more

The Stones of Carnac

The stones of Carnac, France, are probably the most famous stones markings outside of those found at Stonehenge in England. There are many, many stones at Carnac. And these stones are very old too, the...more

The Cairns of Clava

Not too far from Loch Ness, there lies three giant tombs made of stones. They are called the Balnuaran of Clava. The Balnuaran of Clava, giant tombs encased in stone, can be found close to Inverness in...more

Cuzco

Cuzco is located in Southern Peru. It is the ancient capital of the Inca Empire. It is the oldest, continuously occupied city in the Americas. In ancient times, Cuzco was the ceremonial capital and hub...more

The Stones of Fossa

The stone structures of England and France are very famous. In Italy, you'll also find standing stones, stone rings, and stone tombs. An example of these stone structures is in Fossa, Abruzzo, in Italy....more

Kepler's 2nd Law: The Speeds of Planets

Kepler's second law he again discovered by trial and error. Kepler realized that the line connecting the planet and the Sun sweeps out equal area in equal time. Look at the diagram to the left. What Kepler...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA