Mother Earth, Father Sky

23rd June 2000 at 01:00
Through legend and imagery, American Indian ways of thinking can add a fascinating spin to your children's understanding of our planet's place in space, says John Stringer

North American Indians see themselves as part of nature, not apart from it or above it. They have always been aware that understanding the heavens as well as the daily, annual and seasonal change, was essential to survival. There is evidence that they made careful observations of the night sky; and these observations informed theiractivities.

But what can be observed cannot always be explained. The natural world is a place of great power. In their legends, Native Americans came to terms with this power and explained the inexplicable. Science and story both had places in their understanding.

On the following pages, legends explaining the origins of the Earth and the Moon are followed by a look at a Stone Circle in Wyoming, which was most probably an observatory, and ideas for using this imagery in your lessons.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today