A new Canada Science and Technology Museum exhibit, called Hidden Worlds, will look at the history of astronomy from an Indigenous perspective. It was developed in collaboration with Cree First Nations elder Wilfred Buck, a science facilitator at the Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre, and Annette Lee, an astrophysicist and artist leading the Native Skywatchers research project in Minnesota.
Move over Bill Nye the Science Guy, and make way for Wilfred Buck, Manitoba’s very own Star Guy.
Buck is a science facilitator at the Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre (MFNERC). He works with First Nations schools to bring an Indigenous perspective to teaching science. Buck, who is from Opaskwayak Cree Nation, introduces students to a whole new universe. He takes his portable dome-shaped planetarium to communities to teach students about Cree constellations, such as Wesakaychak and Keewatin.
“I take this around to the various schools and show the students that their people knew about the stars just as well as anybody else,” he says.
To make his lessons even more intriguing, Buck shares star stories about First Nations, which he gathered from Cree, Ojibwe and Dakota nations. Students learn that it wasn’t just the Romans and Greeks who studied the stars, and Buck helps them to develop an appreciation of First Nations mythology.
In this video he shares how he helps First Nations students to connect to their culture and to science.
“Everybody has their stories about the sky, because everybody lives under the sky,” says Buck. “Initially, that’s how we lived, by the sky and the objects in the sky.” Buck continues to gather these stories told by various Elders and knowledge keepers. He looks forward to the day when First Nations astronomy is as universally recognized as mainstream mythology.