• The westernization of the night sky: a study of indigenous astronomy and sky culture

      Perles, Zoe Kaya (2021-12)
      When we examine the night sky and consider the history and progression of science and astronomy, we observe the sky through a specific cultural lens. Contemporary understandings and interpretations of the sky and of science have been distorted by the biases of Western European history and culture. Consequently, indigenous astronomy has been eradicated, depreciated, forgotten, and omitted from the historical record. After thousands of years of colonization and the purposeful destruction of indigenous cultures, much knowledge of indigenous astronomy has been lost. However, the knowledge that has been preserved is extraordinary. A study of the methods and strategies of astronomical observation developed by indigenous civilizations and the roles that astronomy served within indigenous societies crafts a compelling argument about the validity, sophistication, and value of indigenous astronomy and sky culture. With that knowledge, we can then consider the drastic repercussions of the erasure of indigenous astronomy and why it is essential that we incorporate indigenous knowledge into modern understandings of science and astronomy.