The science of fun

Across the Universe showcases STEM at Leech Lake Tribal College

A crowd watches a rocket launch on Thursday at Leech Lake Tribal College’s fourth annual Across the Universe event. (Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer)

A crowd watches a rocket launch on Thursday at Leech Lake Tribal College’s fourth annual Across the Universe event. (Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer)

Lynnea White, 5, and Ziinaa White, 6, play with slime at Leech Lake Tribal College’s fourth annual Across the Universe event. (Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer)

Lynnea White, 5, and Ziinaa White, 6, play with slime at Leech Lake Tribal College’s fourth annual Across the Universe event. (Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer)

Larissa Eischens, 8, creates a thin-film light refraction on Thursday at Leech Lake Tribal College’s fourth annual Across the Universe event. (Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer)

Larissa Eischens, 8, creates a thin-film light refraction on Thursday at Leech Lake Tribal College’s fourth annual Across the Universe event. (Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer)

LEECH LAKE—Is that a fisher or a bear in the night sky?

At Leech Lake Tribal College Thursday, it was the former in Michael Price's "StarLab," where he told attendees about Ojibwe star knowledge at the college's fourth-annual Across the Universe family night.

In western astronomy, the constellation comprises Ursa Major—a bear—but among Ojibwe people, traditionally, it's Ojiiganang—"fisher star." It rotates around the North Star, which remains in almost the same spot in the sky, and Ojibwe people could use the constellation's position relative to the star to tell when the seasons were about to change, Price said.

"One of my goals is to revitalize and kind of wake up our Indigenous star traditions, some of the stories that we have that are totally unrelated to western science and western astronomy," Price said. "These constellations have been in our families or our community for generations, but we nearly lost them. Me and other people are working to bring those stories back."

Price is a forestry instructor at the tribal college, but he's spent decades gathering information about Ojibwe star knowledge since he first heard an elder speak about it in Winnipeg. 

For full article, go to: Bemidji Pioneer

Source, image(s), credits & more: Bemidji Pioneer | Joe Bowen