Indigenous Star Knowledge Symposia: Summer Solstice, Celebration of Star Knowledge from Africa and Rapanui (Easter Island)

Indigenous Star Knowledge Symposia: Summer Solstice, Celebration of Star Knowledge from Africa and Rapanui (Easter Island)

A tipi in the distance at sunset.

PHOTO CREDIT: Lindsey Kirby-McGregor
Wilfred Buck’s ‘Tipis and Telescopes’ event near East Selkirk, Manitoba, supported by the Manitoba First Nation’s Education Resource Centre.
 

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June 22, 2021. 3 p.m. Eastern.

  • Featured Speakers: Edmundo Edwards Eastman (Rapanui) and Jarita Holbrook (African culture)
  • Welcome from: Anita Tenasco, Kitigan Zibi, Quebec (Algonquin)
  • Opening Prayer: Wilfred Buck, Manitoba (Ininew)
  • Moderated by: Yasmin Catricheo, Chile (Mapuche)

Presentation #1: Cosmovision of the Polynesia and Rapanui. 

Featured Speaker: Edmundo Edwards Eastman. Archeoastronomy. President Fundación
Planetario Rapanui

Abstract: Some 3,500 years ago, the ancestors of the Polynesians led the speediest human expansion of the pre-historic world, guided by nothing more than their complex astronomical observations and an understanding of natural signs. This knowledge, coupled with tremendous navigational skills and human ingenuity, allowed the Polynesians to explore the vast Pacific Ocean and develop highly sophisticated cultures on thousands of different islands.  

Bio: Edmundo’s passion for archaeology started when he was 12 years old and discovered a pre-Incan site in northern Chile, yet it was after visiting Rapa Nui in 1957, that he became enthralled by Rapanui culture and returned to the island in 1960 with archaeologist William Mulloy.  Edmundo has lived and worked in Polynesia ever since. In 1977 he co-founded the Centro de Estudios de Isla de Pascua where he carried out archaeological and ethnographic studies for the University of Chile until 1985. He then left for Tahiti, conducting archaeological surveys and leading restoration work in the Society, Marquesas, and Austral Islands until he returned to Rapa Nui in 1994. Edmundo has since then devoted himself to the scientific study and preservation of the archaeology and culture of the Pacific islands.  He is the co-founder of the Pacific Islands Research Institute (PIRI) and co-owner of Archaeological Travel Service (ATS). Edmundo is an active member of the Explorers Club and in 2011 he was honored with the Lowell Thomas Award for his exceptional contribution to human knowledge through his valuable research and discoveries in Polynesia, and in 2016 he received the Citation of Merit.


Presentation #2: Celestial Africa

Featured Speaker: Jarita Holbrook

Abstract: The continent of Africa is large and has thousands of ethnic groups living in over 50 countries. Though home to some of the biggest astronomical telescopes in the world, there remains the perception that Africans have little awareness of the celestial realm. In reality, African indigenous astronomy is rich with many cultural connections to the sky as well as many practical uses of the sky. Holbrook will share some of the African legacy of rich skylore, artistic works, and practices connected to the sky.

Bio: Jarita Holbrook is a Marie Skłowdowska Curie Fellow in Science, Technology & Innovation Studies at the University of Edinburgh. Holbrook has successfully navigated the physical science and the social sciences. Upon moving to South Africa in 2013 to the Physics department at the University of the Western Cape, Holbrook was engaged in indigenous astronomy, studying the sociocultural aspects of astrophysics education in South Africa, and making a film about the social issues connected to building the Square Kilometre Array radio telescope. Using interview based inquiry, Holbrook researches the practices of inclusion and exclusion through analyzing socioeconomic class, gender, and ethnicity among database-driven astrophysics collaborations. Holbrook's current project, ASTROMOVES, explores these in the context of career decision making among astrophysicists.


Panellists:

Anita Tenasco is an Anishinabeg from Kitigan Zibi. She has a Bachelor’s degree in history and teaching from the University of Ottawa, as well as a First Nations leadership certificate from Saint Paul’s University, in Ottawa. She has also taken courses in public administration at ENAP (The University of Public Administration). In Kitigan Zibi, she has held various positions in the field of education and, since 2005, is director of education in her community.

Anita was an active participant in the Honouring Our Ancestors project, in which the Anishinabeg Nation of Kitigan Zibi, under Gilbert Whiteduck’s direction, was successful in the restitution of the remains of ancestors conserved at the Canadian Museum of History, in Gatineau. Anita also participated in the organizing of a conference on repatriation, in Kitigan Zibi, in 2005. She plays an important role in this research project. 

http://nikanishk.ca/en/blog/project-participants/anita-tenasco-2/


Wilfred Buck is a member of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation. He obtained his B.Ed. & Post Bacc. from the University of Manitoba.

As an educator Wilfred has had the opportunity and good fortune to travel to South and Central America as well as Europe and met, shared and listened to Indigenous people from all over the world.

He is a husband, father of four, son, uncle, brother, nephew, story-teller, mad scientist, teacher, singer, pipe-carrier, sweat lodge keeper, old person and sun dance leader. Researching Ininew star stories Wilfred found a host of information which had to be interpreted and analyzed to identify if the stories were referring to the stars. The journey began… The easiest way to go about doing this, he was told, was to look up. 

“The greatest teaching that was ever given to me, other than my wife and children, is the ability to see the humor in the world”…Wilfred Buck

https://acakwuskwun.com/


Yasmin Catricheo is the STEM Education Scholar at AUI’s Office of Education and Public Engagement. She is a physics educator from Chile, and of Mapuche origin. Yasmin is passionate about the teaching of science and more recently has focused in the area of astronomy and STEM. In her professional training she has taken a range of courses in science and science education, and researched the benefits of scientific argumentation in the physics classroom, earning a master’s degree in education from the University of Bío-Bío. Yasmín is also a member of the indigenous group “Mapu Trafun”, and she works closely with the Mapuche community to recover the culture and communicate the message of the Mapuche Worldview. In 2018 Yasmín was selected as the Chilean representative for Astronomy in Chile Educator Ambassador Program (ACEAP) founded by NSF.

Associated Universities Inc.
 

RECORDING OF THE JUNE 22 EVENT