Native American Knowledge

Astronomy and Life Sciences

Web Page Title Comments
1054 Supernova Petrograph "The Anasazi residents of Chaco Canyon were attentive to the movements of the heavens, that much is clear. The famous Sun Dagger on Fajada Butte in the center of Chaco Canyon is a solar calendar that heralds the winter solstice when a band of sunlight passing through between two slabs intersects the center of a spiral. A square of light floods a notch in the wall of Casa Rinconada's Great Kiva on the summer solstice, and locations marked within the Great Kiva are thought by some to create a simple stellar observatory."
A Potato Page "The purpose of this page is to provide easy access to information on all aspects of potato production and storage contained on the SARDI horticulture web site. Links to relevant staff, to contact for further information, and to related sites on the internet, are also provided."
Aboriginal Star Knowledge from the indefatigueable Paula Giese
Aboriginal Trail "The Aborigines have lived in Australia for at least 40,000 years, and in all those long generations the land provided them with everything they needed for a healthy life. They also learned to manage their country in such ways that its resources renewed themselves and were not used up."
Alaska Native Knowledge Network The Alaska Native Knowledge Network is designed to serve as a resource for compiling and exchanging information related to Alaska Native knowledge systems and ways of knowing. It has been established to assist Native people, government agencies, educators and the general public in gaining access to the knowledge base that Alaska Natives have acquired through cumulative experience over millennia."
Ancient Astronomies "Astronomy has sometimes been called the world's first science.  Since the beginnings of human history, mankind has used astronomical objects both as tools for improving daily life and as inspiration for systems of belief.  Many different cultures claim that the celestial realm is inhabited by God or gods and that it has profound impact on their daily lives.  More practically, astronomical events help us to predict the seasons, create calendars that keep track of past events, and navigate on both land and sea."
American Indian Ethnobotany Database  
Aztec Center "Inside Aztec Center are lounges and facilities used for activities and events. There is also an information center, as well as places to buy food, concert tickets, and much more. At the food court, a gathering spot in Aztec Center, students enjoy entertainment sponsored by Associated Students (AS) Cultural Arts and Special Events."
Biopiracy and Indigenous Knowledge  
Calendar of the Aztecs  
Center for Indigenous Knowledge for Agriculture and Rural Development "The Center for Indigenous Knowledge for Agriculture and Rural Development (CIKARD) at Iowa State University focuses its activities on preserving and using the local knowledge of farmers and other rural people around the globe. CIKARD was established at Iowa State University in October 1987 to provide mechanisms to strengthen the capacity of domestic and international development agencies involved in projects designed to improve agricultural production and the quality of life in rural areas in cost-effective and sustainable ways. Its goal is to collect indigenous knowledge and make it available to local communities, development professionals and scientists."
Eastern Native Seed Conservancy "The Eastern Native Seed Conservancy, endeavors to preserve rare  genetic stock and in so doing is able to offer the public a sampling of true rarity."
Ethnoastronomy "Ethnoastronomy generally involves learning about the astronomical system of non-Western people. Questioning follows standard ethnographic techniques, often beginning with the very general and radiating both outward and inward. I work with the Mescalero Apaches, and originally went to the Mescalero Apache Reservation to study children's free play."
Ethnobotany "Since the beginning of civilization, people have used plants as medicine. Perhaps as early as Neanderthal man, plants were believed to have healing powers. The earliest recorded uses are found in Babylon circa 1770 BC in the Code of Hammurabi and in ancient Egypt circa 1550 B.C. In fact, ancient Egyptians believed medicinal plants to have utility even in the afterlife of their pharaohs. Plants have been recovered from the Giza pyramids and can be found on display in a dark corner of t Access Excellence Resource Center he Cairo Museum."
First Nations Forests & Waters: Native-Centered Science "Contrary to stereotype, Native American Indians do not have a "natural" affinity with environmentalism. What they do have is lands with a long history of being the dumping ground for uranium tailings, nuclear waste, and toxic chemicals. Reviving traditional land-based spiritual/cultural practices, and inventing new ones for the 21st century, play an increasingly vital part of many reservation cultures threatened by environmental pollution and cultural genocide."
Inca Center "Welcome to Descendants of the Incas. We hope the images and comments you explore will give you a flavor of the rich culture of Inca people living today near the city of Cusco, once the capital of the Inca empire."
Interpretation of Prehispanic Calendars "Long Count or initial series counts the number of days since creation, Aug 12, 3113 B.C. (according to the Goodman-Martinez-Thompson correlation. Batkun count (days) = (((B*20 + K)*20 + T)*18 + U)*20 + kins = 144000*B + 7200*K + 360*T + 20*U + kins. The Mayan Calendar Round is composed of the Tzolkin and  the Haab. The Tzolkin is the name given to the period of 13x20= 260 days and includes a numeral (1-13) and one  of  twenty signs (names)."
Indigenous Agricultural and Environmental Knowledge Systems "Indigenous knowledge is local knowledge unique to a given culture or society. Indigenous agricultural and environmental knowledge gained global recognition through the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in 1992, and documents such as the World Conservation Strategy (International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) 1980) and Brundtland Commission's Our Common Future (World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) 1987). Indigenous knowledge is an immensely valuable resource that provides humankind with insights on how communities have interacted with their changing environment."
Indigenous Use of Herbs "Julio was wet from the pouring rain and frightened. He ran through the streets of Polho, a community in Chiapas sympathetic to the Zapatista rebels, to find Carlos, the health promoter. He explained to Carlos, in Tzotzil, that his young wife Ana had delivered their first child an hour ago and was still heavily bleeding at home."
Ix Chel Farms and the Panti Medicinal Trail "In 1981, Dr. Rosita Arvigo, an American doctor of naprapathy, moved with her husband and family to Belize, where they were determined to start a farm in the jungles of Western Belize and establish a natural healing clinic. "Dr. Rosita" (as she is fondly known in Belize) had studied herbal medicine in Mexico, and she began to hear stories of an old Mayan traditional healer who was renown for his ability to cure hopelessly ill patients."
Lords of the Earth "Welcome to the Maya/Aztec/Inca of the Lords of the Earth a Web site, which deals with the Archeology and Anthropology of the Americas. These disciplines are based on the study of a specific location, then expanding via concentric circles, into the surrounding areas in order to identify possible diffusion among the various polities. However, as with any bulls eye target, at times an arrow (or spear) from a foreign source will strike any one of the defined circles, creating a tear in the fabric called diffusion. Until the source of the arrow is discovered, there can be no sensible explanation of the culture."
Maize Page "Columbus did not realize that the gift of maize was far more valuable than the spices or gold he hoped to find. He had no way of knowing that the history of maize traced back some 8,000 years or that it represented the most remarkable plant breeding accomplishment of all time. He might have been embarrassed if he had understood that then, as now, this plant developed by peoples he judged poor and uncivilized far outstripped in productivity any of the cereals bred by Old World farmers --wheat, rice, sorghum, barley, and rye."
Mayan Astronomy "The Maya developed a sophisticated calendar. The ritual calendar that developed in Mesoamerica used a count of 260 days. This calendar gave each day a name, much like our days of the week. There were 20 day names, each represented by a unique symbol. The days were numbered from 1 to 13. Since there are 20 day names, after the count of thirteen was reached, the next day was numbered 1 again. The 260-day or sacred count calendar was in use throughout Mesoamerica for centuries, probably before the beginning of writing."
Mayan Calendar "In addition, while the order of the glyphs given above is the general case, individual glyphs may be smaller (the ISIG can be one column wide), larger (the long count glyphs can each occupy two columns, especially when the head variants of the numbers are used), or can be compressed or combined so that two glyphs occupy a single glyph block."
Mayan Math "The Mayans devised a counting system that was able to represent very large numbers by using only 3 symbols, a dot, a bar, and a symbol for zero, or completion, usually a shell. The chart above shows the first complete cycle of numbers. Like our numbering system, they used place values to expand this system to allow the expression of very large values."
Mayan Numbers "Instead of ten digits like we have today, the Maya used a base number of 20. (Base 20 is vigesimal.) They also used a system of bar and dot as "shorthand" for counting. A dot stood for one and a bar stood for five."
Mesoamerican Calendars "The Mesoamerican sacred calendar daysigns are transformative archetypal energies. They are considered minor deities or gods. What is called on this site the Ancient Mayan count of days is the most widely used count by the Maya tribes. This count is also known as the True Count. The Tolteca (Aztec) calendar uses the same count and different glyphs and names."
Meteors and the Native Americans "One of the few dateable events among the various records of native Americans was the 1833 appearance of the Leonid meteor shower. Historically recognized as one of the greatest meteor storms on record, it made a lasting impression among the peoples of North America."
Mexican Home Remedies Project "Folk medicine is the most extensively studied component of Mexican-American traditional culture in South Texas. Research in the area has focused primarily on five or six folk illness syndromes and on the non-herbal treatments of curanderos, the healers par excellence in Mexican and Mexican-American traditional culture (Dodson 1951, Rubel 1966, Madsen 1964, Kiev 1968, Trotter and Chavira 1981, Romano 1965, Graham 1985, and others). While scholars have given great attention to the ritual treatments for such folk illness syndromes as mal de ojo, empacho, mollera caída, susto, mal puesto, and latido, they have failed to carefully document and explore as carefully the herbal remedies often used in conjunction with ritual treatments."
Mystery of the Nazca Lines "The Nazca Desert is a high arid plateau which stretches 37 miles between the towns of Nazca and Palpa in southern Peru. Hundreds of square miles of this dry, rocky plain are marked with lines, triangles and other geometric shapes, some running for more than five miles in a straight line. There are also giant drawings including a monkey, a spider, birds, reptiles, and whales. The desert markings, believed to have been made thousands of years ago, made little impression on occasional travelers who viewed them from ground level, but when they were spotted by aircraft in the 1930's they caught the world's attention. They have since been surveyed, mapped and studied. Only two questions remain—who made them, and why?"
Native Americans and the Environment "Welcome to our web site! You will find thousands of Internet and published resources described and cataloged at this site. We also have a document archive and a case studies section where we address specific issues. Please e-mail us about new web sites and books."
Native GIS - GIS & Indigenous Knowledge "In response to an invitation to submit this essay, I regard this opportunity as an honor, and I am gratified. The ESRI Conservation Program coordinator, Charles Convis, extended this invitation, and it presents his ever willingness to always include Native people in his program activities. This first issue profiles only a few of the unique endeavors of the North American aboriginal people. These activities are very meaningful examples of how Native people are embracing the spatial information technologies."
Native Tech "An internet resource for indigenous ethno-technology focusing on the arts of Eastern Woodland Indian Peoples, providing historical & contemporary background with instructional how-to's & references."
RAFI Communique Index "Despite mounting opposition from national governments and United Nations’ agencies, work on Terminator and Traitor (genetic trait control) moves full speed ahead. After Monsanto and AstraZeneca publicly vowed not to commercialize suicide seeds in 1999, governments and civil society organizations were lulled into thinking that the crisis had passed."
Reflections on Rock Art & Astronomy General Rock Art site.
Rural Advancement Foundation International "According to information received by RAFI, Monsanto's CEO Robert Shapiro contacted CARE's President, Peter Bell, inviting CARE officials to discuss ways in which Monsanto may be able to use its technologies for the benefit of food security in the South. Whether this is an attempt to resurrect Monsanto's scheme to provide micro-credit ("soft") loans to Third World farmers in order to market its proprietary pesticides and genetically-modified seeds remains to be seen."
Sacred Sky of the Navajo and Pueblo "According to the Navajo religion, the Universe is a very delicately balanced thing. If this balance is upset, some disaster - usually an illness - will follow. To restore the balance and harmony means performing one of the many Navajo chants or ways. These complex ceremonies involve the use of herbs, prayers, songs and SANDPAINTINGS. The sandpainting is done is a careful and sacred manner, according to the ancient knowledge of the art."
Seeds of Strength for Hopis & Zunis "The Hopi Native American homeland is in northern Arizona and the Zuni Native American homeland is in western New Mexico. Many members of both these communities continue to farm, garden, and ranch, as well as pursue many other professions. Hopi, Zuni and other Native American farmers in the southwest have developed their own varieties of crops originally from present-day Central America and southern Mexico---for example the yellow, blue, red, white, speckled and black corn and bean varieties, and varieties of squash. In addition, over centuries Native American farmers also adapted crops introduced from Europe, Asia and Africa---like peaches, wheat and watermelons The resulting local repertoire of farmer--developed folk varieties (FVs) is a unique heritage of these peoples."
Thematic Guides "Welcome to CIESIN's Thematic Guides on the Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change. Thematic Guides offer overviews of some of the key topics and issues that pertain to human interactions in the environment and global change. The primary objective of the Thematic Guides is to provide a tool that allows researchers, policy makers, educators, and the public to quickly access background materials on key global change issues, and to locate key data sets and information resources. The guides are also designed to complement data-access tools like the Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) Catalog Search Tool by providing context and background information."
Traditional Food, Health and Nutrition "What we eat -- where it comes from, how it is raised, processed, cooked -- affects our health in many ways. Traditional native diets in those few places in the world where people still mostly eat what they raise, hunt, gather, fish -- have been found to promote health and long life, for reasons only gradually coming to be understood."
Traditional Native American Tobacco Seed Bank and Education Program "Hello everyone, it's time for another reminder about the traditional tobacco seeds and leaves available from our program at the University of New Mexico. Sorry for cross-posting, but it's important that the message get out to the most people, since we have discovered that there is a tremendous need in the native community for traditional tobacco."
U Tab Kin: Cords of the Sun "In the Maya area of Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala, in pre-Columbian times there was a whole series of different systems to calculate the time in relation with a number of physical and astronomical phenomena. Understanding and interpreting the various calendar systems largely contributes to the decipherment of hieroglyphic writing, especially when it concerns astronomical phenomena, such as solar and lunar eclipses, the 4 Venus periods and the movements of other planets."