SL-364 – Inuit Star Lore Featured Image
This cylinder created by Ole Knudsen takes the students on a journey of the constellations and star lore of the Arctic night sky as related by Inuit elders. Much of the lore is based on extensive research from John MacDonald’s book entitled The Arctic Sky(available from Amazon).

Of the arctic cultures and beliefs much has been written down by various travellers, anthropologists and other friends of the Arctic peoples, the Inuit. It is also obvious that much has been lost forever. In the few written accounts surviving only a few constellations are mentioned; between ten and twenty. There is some reason to believe that in the old days many more existed, but the cultural chain has been broken and knowledge of Inuit stars and star lore is not a living thing among the young anymore. This cylinder and notes are mainly an attempt to give the stars back to the children of the Arctic.

There seems to have been a twofold use of the stars and constellations. One use is very practical and pragmatic: for timekeeping and for navigation. The other use, mainly for the same stars and constellations was for storytelling. This could be just a pastime or a way of teaching the proper way to behave in a world of gods and spirits. The myths, legends and stories cited here are as they were recorded. They reflect the values and thoughts of a people that has survived the harsh arctic conditions for millennia.