stars in the constellation we know as Orion make such an obvious
figure that just about every civilization, including Indigenous
Peoples, have created mythology about the constellation.
Here in the north it is our winter buddy, and it is highest
in the sky around now, showcased since the Winter Solstice of December
Orion, of course, is from ancient Greek mythology. But the figure
factors prominently into many other cultures as well. Orion's stars
are features of Lakota astronomy, though as a chief, not as a hunter,
and the three stars of the belt are a bison's spine, according to
at Florida International University. The Lakota constellation known
as the Hand consists of Orion's belt and sword, the website says.
Other indigenous nations don't see a hunter either. To the Chinook
Tribe, the stars forming the belt and dagger are two canoes vying
to be the first to catch a salmon in the Big River, which is the
Milky Way. The little canoe is winning the race and is closing in
on the fish, which is Sirius, the bright star in the middle of the
river, according to Western
Washington State University's planetarium.
Besides American Indian cultures, the figure of Orion also features
in the lore of Hungarians, Aboriginal Australians, Scandinavian,
Babylonian, Egyptian and Chinese, as well as others, according to
The Navajo see Orion as Á tse A ts'oosí (First
Slender One), according to the web page So'
Naalkaah Navajo Astronomy. Orion is pictured as standing tall,
his bow poised to launch an arrow.
"This figure is synonymous with the constellation 'Orion' in
its location in the sky," says the site, run by a Navajo man. "Á
tse A ts'oosí represents protection, as it is depicted in
the sky as it moves ahead of the children that make up the constellation
Dilyéhé, protecting them."
Orion also shows up on the ground in Navajo country, with three
sacred mountains corresponding to the same three stars that comprise
Orion's belt, according to Navajo ethnobotanist Arnold Clifford.
"Once [Orion's belt] comes overhead it lines up with all the
three mountains in a row there," Clifford told ICTMN in 2012. "If
you draw a line straight and put all those in a line one slightly
offset to the south. Same as Orion's belt."
In short, the stars tie us all together. Not only are we each
and every one of us crafted of stardust, but we also all see pictures
in humanity's common-across-the-ages, connect-the-dots game in the