So growing up in elementary school we’d be shown this presentation about stars and constellations and whatnot. Every year they’d bring in this big inflatable tent thing where we’d go into that was dark inside except for the night sky which was projected onto the walls of this thing. It was shaped like a dome too. And every time we would get inside this big tent thing Mrs. B, the teacher who gave this presentation, told us the same story about how the stars came to be. I don’t really remember what Native American tribe told this story but it was one of them. She talked about how one day the animals of the world were being bad and unappreciative and selfish, so the gods saw fit to punish them by covering their world with night. It was pitch black and the animals were sad that the daylight was taken away from them. But one of those nights, a crow, or was it a raven, decided he would go and try to remove this blackness from their skies. So he flew way way way way high up and tried to push it with his beak, but he only successfully poked a hole in the blackness. All the other birds thought they’d try help too, and that’s what made all the little tiny holes in the black blanket, or as we know them, stars. However, seeing how the birds all tried to work together, the gods took pity on how sad all the animals were so they made a compromise and only took away the daylight for half the day, and made it night with the stars for the other half, thus explaining night and day as well. The story doesn’t really explain constellations though so I don’t really know what to say about that but this is what I remember”
He knows it because it was an explanation of how the stars he saw every night came to be. And, even if it’s wrong, it’s an entertaining way to think of the beginning of stars.
He learned it from the science presentation in elementary school.
What does it mean? It’s just a fun explanation for stars’ existence he learned which the Native Americans at some point believed.
The context of the performance was actually very happenstance. We were just walking along the streets in LA when we looked up, saw stars, and he was reminded of this story.
I think it’s a very compelling piece. I feel like Native Americans have many interesting ways of explaining how certain things came to be, but I also find it interesting how they choose to explain things considering their relative lack of scientific capabilities. But I find this piece charming and a cute way to explain such a phenomenon. I imagine that this might have been something they told the children as well, to explain how those bright twinkly things ended up in the sky.