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Friday, June 14, 2024

Star Night: November 2019

Members of
the Lakota tribe observed the stars while remaining in one geographical area
over a period of thousands of years. In the “Winter Circle” they saw
a representation of their seasonal migration through the Black Hills in Western
South Dakota. The stars also represented the spiritual life of the people. The
shape of the earth was thought to resemble the constellations above. Much of
this mirroring takes place inside the red clay valley which encircles the Black
Hills of South Dakota. The Lakota stellar theology can be summarized by the
quote: “What is on the earth is in the stars, and what is in the stars is on
the earth.”

The guest speaker is Jim Tolstrup, and the title of his talk will be “Lakota Star Knowledge”.

The guest speaker is Jim Tolstrup, and the title of his talk will be “Lakota Star Knowledge”.

Thus, to
the Lakota, the stars represented places on Earth, the proper timing for
migration, hunting, gathering and ceremonies, as well as ethical and moral

Tolstrup is the co-founder and past-president of Cankatola Ti Ospaye, a
non-profit that supports native elders. At the urging of Lakota Elders, Jim
reaches out to his own people to promote justice for Native Americans and
harmony with the natural world. As the Executive Director of the High Plains
Environmental Center in Loveland, Colorado, Jim works with developers to
“restore nature where we live, work and play.”

Weather permitting, after the presentation,
visitors will be invited to look through the large telescope at various
celestial objects. Public star nights are held the third Friday of each month,
except July, when it is closed for annual maintenance.

If you have any questions, please call the
observatory information line at 970-613-7793
or check the LTO web site at

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