Indigenous Star Knowledge Symposia: A series of local and international gatherings, on the land and online

Indigenous Star Knowledge Symposia: A series of local and international gatherings, on the land and online

Image: Star Medicine Celebration, painting by Annette S. Lee

Organised by Ingenium in collaboration with the Institute of Indigenous Research and Studies at the University of Ottawa, and hosted on traditional Algonquin Anishnaabeg territory, this series of symposia (chosen on the dates of the Fall equinox, Winter solstice, Spring equinoxes and Summer solstice) will combine spiritual ceremony, presentations, activities and dialogue, both online and on the land. The symposia will feature gatherings of Indigenous Knowledge Keepers, Elders, educators and scholars to share and exchange towards reclaiming, preserving, and revitalizing Star Knowledge with Indigenous communities worldwide.

Our original plan was to have a symposium in September 2020, but due to Covid-19 we have reshaped the entire program to spread out the timeline while combining physical and digitally-inclusive experiences. This blended format greatly expands our original intent to offer a space for teaching and learning, while bringing hope and healing through the Indigenous Star Knowledge and our work.

Fall Equinox: Protocols before Knowledge, Seasonal and regional themes

September 21, 2020 (7 p.m. Est Ottawa, Canada); September 22, 2020 (9:00 a.m. Lismore, Australia)


Shawn Wilson and Stuart Barlo, Southern Cross University, Australia

For Indigenous people astronomy and cosmology are intricately intertwined. Star Knowledge, like everything else, is all about relationships and teaches us our place in the universe.

Shawn Wilson is Opaskwayak Cree from Manitoba. He works at Gnibi College of Indigenous Australian Peoples and is also an Adjunct Professor at Østfold University College in Norway. Shawn will discuss how understanding Indigenous Star Knowledge develops a deeper understanding of the very nature of reality. To gain this understanding requires us to develop deeper relationships with Sky Country. 

Stuart Barlo is a Yuin man from the south coast of New South Wales, and is Dean of Gnibi College of Indigenous Australian Peoples. Stuart will talk about the journey of being able to speak about Sky Country. The journey requires learning how to prepare yourself and create a safe space to develop relationship with Sky Country. 


Wilfred Buck, Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Center

Annette S. Lee, PhD., Native Skywatchers

Nancy Maryboy, PhD., Indigenous Education Institute 

David Begay, PhD., Indigenous Education Institute 

Anita Tenasco, Director, Kitigan Zibi Education Sector

*Postponed and adapted due to COVID* Coinciding with a ceremony at Kitigan Zibi, Quebec to launch the Algonquin Star Knowledge Project. Offering of Tobacco and Prayer on the land with Peter Decontie, Wilfred Buck, Anita Tenasco and members of the Algonquin community.

A recording will be made available from this website.
Thank you for your interest and participation in the September 21 Fall Equinox: Protocols before Knowledge on-line symposium. A recording (English only) and transcript (English and French) will be made available. Please allow us two to four weeks for the editing and translation process to be completed. The next on-line symposium will be December 21. Thank you for your patience.

Winter Solstice: Seasonal and regional themes focused on research and Ingenium’s exhibition – One Sky, Many Worlds: Indigenous Voices in Astronomy

Dec 21, 2020
Keynote: TBA
Panel and Discussions

Registration link coming soon

Spring Equinox: Seasonal and regional themes focused on education

March 20, 2021
Keynote: TBA
Panel and Workshops

Registration link coming soon

Summer Solstice: Seasonal and regional themes, Gatherings on land and online, future networks.

June 20, 2021
Keynote: TBA.
Symposium program to follow.
Coinciding with ceremony and star gathering on Algonquin Territory. 

Registration link coming soon

Indigenous Star Knowledge Committee:

Wilfred Buck, Annette Lee, Carola Knockwood, Peter Decontie, Anita Tenasco, Daniella Scalice, David Pantalony, Lindsey McGregor, and Michel Labrecque.

Major Supporters and Partners:

  • Ingenium - Canada's Museums of Science and Innovation / Musées des sciences et de l’innovation du Canada
  • UOttawa. Faculty of Arts and Institute of Indigenous Research and Studies.
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)
  • National Research Council
  • Funding provided by the United States Government
  • Canadian Science and Technology Historical Association
  • Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg Cultural Center

"The ancient ones [star beings] remind us of our deep interconnectiveness with the universe and the gift of transformation when we choose to allow it."
- From the story of Kakwet, the 8-legged starfish, Mi'kmaw Educator, Carola Knockwood.

OttawaU logo

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council logo
Indigenous Star Knowledge Symposia are supported in part by funding from the
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. 

National Research Council logo

Embassy of the United States Ottawa, Canada logo

Canadian Science and Technology Historical Association logo

Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg logo

Ingenium – Canada’s Museums of Science and Innovation

Ingenium recognizes that we are on traditional Algonquin Anishnaabeg territory.