MEDIA RELATIONS OFFICE
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
PASADENA, CALIF. 91109
TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011
Contact: Jane Platt
March 12, 1999
NASA AND LAKOTA SIOUX JOIN TOGETHER TO REACH FOR THE
In a unique marriage
of high-tech science and traditional Native American
NASA science educators and the Lakota Nation
will welcome the arrival of spring
and exchange knowledge
of the stars in the Black Hills of South Dakota on March
traditional Lakota Spring Gathering of more than 1,000
of the Lakota Nation, Lakota elders will share
their traditional star teachings
and JPL educators will
provide telescopes and computers as astronomy aids.
"We hope to
excite Lakota youth about NASA space science
and see what
we can learn from this cultural interchange,"
JPL science educator Richard Shope.
exploring the connections between recent space
and traditional Lakota star knowledge."
"My people once
hunted for buffalo - now we hunt for knowledge,"
said Chief Joseph Chasing Horse, spiritual leader for the
For the Lakota people, the Spring Gathering marks
the time when
the Sun travels with the traditional Dried
Red Willow constellation.
Throughout Lakota history, it
was a time of migration for hunters
who followed the
movements of buffalo herds.
The gathering will
include students from eight rural tribal schools,
with their family and friends.
On Saturday, March 20, JPL
science educators will host a star-watching
students will participate in hands-on,
astronomy lessons. On the first day of spring --
March 21, known as the vernal equinox---
the Lakota will
host a ceremonial hike, and Lakota elders will share
traditional star knowledge through talking circles,
singing and dancing.
"We have come
to your classroom, and we now invite you to
come into our
classroom," said Chasing Horse.
In a program
sponsored by NASA's Native American Initiative,
working with JPL representatives to help develop
education materials that join traditional Lakota
with modern science. Chasing Horse,
descendant of the spiritual leader Crazy Horse, serves as
ambassador to the United Nations for the Lakota Sioux
At the Black Hills
gathering, JPL will present to the Lakota people several
large prints of an image of the Black Hills as taken from
the Space Shuttle.
JPL is participating
in the event through a program called
Outer Planets to the Inner City"
designed to bring
space science to urban and rural classrooms.
members attending the Black Hills gathering
representatives of the Laboratory's Outer Planets/Solar
the Cassini mission to Saturn and the
Telescopes In Education program.
A larger, public
gathering to mark the arrival of summer
will be held from
June 21 to 25 in the Black Hills.
JPL manages the
Outer Planets/Solar Probe project
and the Cassini program
Office of Space Science, Washington, DC. JPL
is a division of
California Institute of Technology,
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