|[Flagstaff; Grand Canyon, Arizona] – Lowell Observatory is proud to announce a unique and culturally enriching livestream event on November 15 in collaboration with Grand Canyon Conservancy. “Native Constellation Storytelling for Winter Skies” will be hosted by Lowell Observatory’s Public Information Officer and Historian, Kevin Schindler, in conversation with Autumn Gillard, the Cultural Resource Manager of the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah (PITU).
“Native Constellation Storytelling for Winter Skies” will provide viewers with a rare opportunity to delve into the rich world of native constellations, a storytelling privilege only granted to members of the native tribes during the winter months when these celestial formations grace the night sky. Attendees will be able to listen to stories and request views of deep space objects live as Lowell Observatory streams from its Giovale Open Deck Observatory, using a 14” PlaneWave telescope. Not all stories can be shared with those outside of tribal communities, so note that not all questions regarding stories will be able to be answered.
This extraordinary event, taking place on November 15, 2023, at 8pm MST, is set to celebrate National Native American Heritage Month, a time dedicated to recognizing and honoring the rich cultural heritage of Native Americans.
As the official nonprofit of Grand Canyon National Park, Grand Canyon Conservancy advocates for the preservation and appreciation of Grand Canyon’s natural and cultural heritage and sees this collaboration as a way to deepen our relationship with the night sky.
“The night sky over Grand Canyon reveals a cascade of luminous stars and planets. These constellations have shaped the arts, sciences and cultures across the millennia,” comments Caity Varian, Marketing Manager for Grand Canyon Conservancy. “We’re thrilled to facilitate this dialogue to connect more people with the dark skies and ultimately inspire their protection.”
Autumn Gillard, Cultural Resource Manager of the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah, will share wisdom passed down through generations, shedding light on the deep cultural significance of these celestial arrangements.
“Indigenous Science or TEK (Traditional Ecological Knowledge) stands on equal footing with westernized science; they are one and the same,” remarks Autumn Gillard, representative from the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah and headlining guest for the upcoming livestream event. “To me, understanding the universe and our connection to the sky is not just about scientific inquiry—it’s a means of connecting with my heritage and embracing my identity as a native woman.”
Lauren Cisneros, Marketing Coordinator for Grand Canyon Conservancy, emphasizes the importance of this event, stating, “The Native Constellation Storytelling for Winter Skies event is an invaluable opportunity to celebrate and honor the cultural heritage of the native tribes in the region during National Native American Heritage Month. It is a bridge to connect the past, present, and future, and we are thrilled to be part of it.”
Samantha Gorney, Astronomy Discovery Center Interpretive Content Manager at Lowell Observatory, highlights the vital role of native astronomy in our understanding of the cosmos: “To truly grasp the enormity and wonder of the night sky, we must look beyond systems and charts and seek the stories and meanings that have been woven into the stars for millennia,” Gorney explains. “Humans have an innate need to understand their place in the universe, to connect the dots between our existence and the vast expanse of space.”
“Native astronomy provides that crucial context,” says Samantha, “reminding us that we are, fundamentally, all made of star stuff. Indigenous peoples have understood this connection for centuries, long before it became a well-known concept in the Western world. By embracing these cultural perspectives, we gain a fuller, richer understanding of our night sky and ourselves.”
The Native Constellation Storytelling for Winter Skies livestream event will be live on November 15, 2023, at 8pm MST. Lowell Observatory and Grand Canyon Conservancy invite the public to join and interact on the livestream: [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJeFszaq9uk] and Grand Grand Conservancy’s social media channels.
A livestream event offering a rare opportunity to delve into the night sky storytelling of the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah, presented in collaboration with Lowell Observatory and Grand Canyon Conservancy.
YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJeFszaq9uk
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/293509086855784
LinkedIn event: https://www.linkedin.com/events/7123659767494975488/comments/
November 15, 2023, at 8pm MST
For further information about this event or to arrange interviews, please contact:
Public Information Officer, Historian; Lowell Observatory
Marketing Manager, Grand Canyon Conservancy