Western Washington University   College of Sciences and Technology   Physics/Astronomy Dept.   Bellingham, WA USA
American Indian Sky
Tribal Names for Celestial Objects

Milky Way | North Star | Big Dipper | Orion's Belt | Pleiades | Cassiopeia | Corona Borealis | Scorpius | Aurora Borealis
Many of the tribes are divided into distinct clans, each with their own names for the celestial objects. Some of the names here are one of several known to be associated with the tribe that is listed. Click on the names of the tribes for images.

The Raven looked at man and was surprised that this strange new being was so much like himself. Inuit Creation Story




The Milky Way
Iroquois Great Sky Road
Ojibway Path of the Migrating Birds
Fox White River
Cree Ghost Road
Tahltan Snowshoer's Trail
Tutchone Flight of the Loon
Inuit Raven's Snowshoe Tracks
Kwakiutl Cannibal Pole
Snohomish The River
Coeur d'Alene Trail of the Dead
Klamath The River
Paiute The Dusty Trail
Shoshone Ice Crystal Trail
Shasta Devil Trail
Tipai Night's Backbone
San Ildefonso Endless Trail
Zuni The Monster's Entrails
Navajo Awaits the Dawn
Apache The Scattered Stars
Maricopa Spiderweb
Pima Flour and Ash
Pawnee Bright Stretch Across
Lakota Spirit Path
Dakota Trail of Bubbles
Cheyenne Hanging Road
Cherokee Dog Trail
Choctaw Spirit Road
Orion's Belt
Cree Three Chiefs
Inuit Steps in a Snowbank
Tlingit Men in a Line
Yakut Three Babies
Cochiti Pot-Rest
Hopi Strung Together
Omaha Goose Foot
Isleta The Fawns
Apache Three Vertebrae
Cassiopeia
Inuit Stones Supporting Lamp
Quileute Elk Skin
Chumash Land of Windows
Zuni Zig Zag
Navajo She who revolves
Pima Spider
Pawnee Rabbit
Corona Borealis
Iroquois Bear's Den
Shawnee Celestial Sisters
Omaha Brothers
Delaware Bear's Head
Tipai Hand
Tewa Meal Drying-Bowl
Havasupai Hoop
Pawnee Chief Council
Blackfoot Spiderman's Lodge
Cheyenne Old Camp
The North Star
Iroquois Star that does not move
Cree Guide of the People
Kootenai Grizzly Bear
Paiute Mountain Sheep
Pomo Eye of the Creator
Yakut Sky Coyote
Cahuilla Pretty Woman
Luiseño Sky Chief
Navajo Star on Top
Apache Not-Walking Star
Pawnee Star that does not walk
Lakota Star that stands still
Crow Old Woman's Grandchild
Assiniboine North Star
The Big Dipper
Iroquois The Bear and The Hunters
Ojibway Fisher Stars
Tahltan Grandfather Stars
Tutchone Big-Headed Man
Inuit Giant Caribou
Snohomish Great Elk
Wasco Wolf Brothers
Klamath The Loons
Shoshone Rabbit Net
Pomo The Cane
Monache Seven Boys
Isleta The Cradle
Navajo One who revolves
Walapai Catcus Hook
Pawnee Stretcher
Cochiti The Sheild Stars
Crow Brothers with a girl
Arapaho Bison Bulls
Cherokee Lost Hunters
Choctaw The Canoe
Pleiades
Iroquois Dancers
Delaware Holy Men
Carrier Caribou
Inuit Sharing Foxes
Haida Brothers in a boat
Salish Crying Children
Paiute Coyote's Daughters
Wiyot People in a boat
Shasta Raccoon's Children
Luiseño Hearts of the First People
Chumash Wise Men
Zuni Seeds
Cheyenne Puppies
Blackfoot Lost Children
Scorpius
Ipai Boy with Bow and Arrow
Navajo Rabbit Tracks
Pima Earth Healer
Pawnee Swimming Ducks
Maricopa Scorpion
Aurora Borealis
Kwakiutl Dancing human and animal spirits, especially those of deer, seals, salmon and Beluga whales.
Fox The ghosts of slain enemies who are restless for revenge. They are trying to rise from the dead and attack.
Inuit Spirits of the dead playing ball with a Walrus skull.
Nunivak Walrus spirits playing ball with a human skull.
Ammassalik The spirits of children who died at birth. The dancing of the children around in a circle causes the moving streamers and draperies.
Algonquin Nanahbozho, creator of the Earth, traveled to the north and built large fires, of which the lights are reflections, to remind people that he still thinks of them.
Menominee Torches used by friendly giants in the north, to attract the fish that they spear at night.
Mandan Fires over which the warriors of northern nations simmer their dead enemies in enormous pots.
Makah Fires in the far north. A tribe of dwarves, half the length of a canoe paddle but so strong they catch whales with their bare hands, boil blubber over the fires.

Planetarium Homepage
Western Washington University Planetarium