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The Arctic Sky: Inuit Astronomy, Star Lore, and Legend 1st Edition
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Author John MacDonald is an astronomer and researcher in Iglolik in the new territory of Nunavut in Northern Canada. He surverys traditional astronomy through document research, but also through interviews and collaboration with Inuit elders in Igloolik.
The book also contains findings and traditions from Northern Alaska. Living in a place where the sun stays down over two months in winter, I was fascinated to learn about a number of customs and rituals related to the return of the sun, for example. MacDonald tells how young people were forbidden to play strings games as the sun first reappeared ---for fear that the sun might get caught in the strings and never fully rise again. Also how residents of some villages would get up on the roofs of their homes to celebrate the return of the sun.
There are many stories about familiar constellations, and words such as "Ullaktut", meaning "runners" which refer to the three belt stars of Orion. And much, much more.
Alas, MacDonald notes that traditional astronomy is now diminished in some areas, in part because people travel faster at night with snow machines, and do not spend as much time outdoors under the night sky.Read more ›