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Paper: The Pleiades and Cross-Cultural Connections in Museums
Volume: 533, ASP 2021: Sharing Best Practices – AstronomyTeaching and Public Engagement
Page: 84
Authors: Hawkins, I.
Abstract: The Sun, Moon, planets, and stars have accompanied sky watchers over millennia. For many cultures on Earth, the Pleiades star cluster is tied to worldviews, astronomy, calendaring, weather prediction, and rituals. In this article, I highlight the traditional knowledge of Indigenous peoples in Polynesia, Mesoamerica, and the Andes, where the Pleiades cluster continues to be a source of knowledge, both culturally and scientifically. I share emerging results of collaborative research conducted in 2019–2022 with M\āori, Maya, and Quechua communities during a Fulbright US Global Scholar Fellowship. The goals of the fellowship include documenting, preserving, and disseminating local knowledge about the Pleiades in a cross-cultural context. The work is conducted through immersive residencies and sustained relationships with Indigenous elders, young adults, and academics, as well as with other scholars and students in New Zealand, Guatemala, and Peru. Results are intended to benefit the host communities and to inform the work of Indigenous and non-Indigenous science educators in schools, museums, and other settings. I discuss cross-cultural connections of the Pleiades cluster along three research themes: traditional agriculture and food sovereignty, the weaving arts, and rituals connected with death and the ancestors. I conclude with examples of informal science learning experiences for the public in museum settings.
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