Thursday, February 21, 2019

Reader's Diary #2008- Wilfred Buck: Tipiskawi Kisik

It took moving to Nunavut as an adult for me to first hear Inuit stories and beliefs about the northern lights, though growing up I heard plenty Greek and Roman mythologies concerning celestial bodies. This fact was not lost on Wilfred Buck who had a similar school experience despite being from the Opaskwayak Cree Nation. Thankfully Buck is one of many indigenous writers who are reclaiming and sharing traditional knowledge, recognizing that it is every bit as relevant as those European stories, if not more, to great swaths of people.

In Tipiskawi Kisik: Night Sky Star Stories Buck offers a brief but packed look at a Cree perspective of the stars which includes their scientific understanding and traditional use (navigation and calendars, for example) and cultural significance, including their own constellation names and stories. Sometimes this shared similarities with the colonial teachings I'd heard growing up and sometimes it presented new ideas completely new to me and in both cases I found it very interesting.

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