Thunderbird and the seven girls

by Ted Frimet


and the seven girls

Thunderbird and his seven girls grew up to know dark skies. Their view was a serene night time walk-about. Every evening, they would naked eye peer into the blackness. Then they would bear witness to the sacred agreement.

Each passing Spring evening, Hehaka the Elk would shelter under Canhasa the Red Willow. And the seven girls awed with wonder seeing them together. If only I were the Elk, and my sisters were the Willow, mused one of seven. I would then know what lay beyond the Earths horizon.

Thunderbird taught the seven girls their relationship with the night sky. He reminded them not to be indifferent to it. They were taught to embrace Oceti the Fireplace and Mato Tipila the Bear’s Lodge, rising in the East. And remember well to say their evening goodbyes to Thunderbird and the Elk, in the setting West.

Time passed, and Earth became a smaller place. Newcomers came to the land where Thunderbird and the seven girls lived. And for awhile, they shared their skies with the newcomers. It was a sharing, after all, gifted from a people that knew the night stories and spoke often of their responsibility to sky and earth.

Over the passing of many seasons, the newcomers commitment was not honored. And Thunderbird grew old and tired. To Tun Win, the Blue Birth Woman, whispered into the ear of Thunderbird. She softly spoke to him his real name. “Wakinyan”, she said. Now gifted with the knowledge of his true nature, Wakinyan, dove from the North and descended into the West, never to be seen again.

The seven girls were troubled. Why, To Tun Win, did you whisper the true name to our father, Thunderbird? He is now gone from us, forever. To Tun Win told the seven girls that they needed to understand the world as being deeply interconnected. That they, the people and the few they privileged, were held accountable to sky and earth. And that the newcomer’s lights’ casted an ugly gray hue.

Wearily, To Tun Win told the seven girls that she longed for seeing Anpo Wicanhpi Sunkaku, the Younger Brother of Morning Star. And to do so with her naked eyes. The gray hue of scattered light kept her from Anpo, she said.

Now forlorn, To Tun Win gathered the seven girls about her. She spoke hesitantly of the passed time for dark skies. She said quietly, “Our reservation has no boundary”. We shared our imaginary lines in the sky. We showed them where we store our history. Where we hunt and where we fish. And despite what stories we tell, we have no real protection.

The newcomers continue to bring the scattered lights. Thunderbird, she exclaimed, is gone forever. He did not protect the night sky. However, you can bring me back my Anpo Wicanhpi Sunkaku.

“How, shall we?”, the sisters asked. Once again To Tun Win whispered softly. Although she spoke to all, each sister felt as if To Tun Win whispered into only her ear.

You must reach out to the seven lands of Mother Earth. You must teach all newcomers. Remind them of their interconnectedness of Sky and Earth. Then they too will know the nightly whisper of To Tun Win. Until the darkness comes back to me, they will only know the story of Thunderbird.

Remember the darkness of the night sky, and pay homage to this relationship. Understand the interconnectedness of the whole World, below and above. Know that you have no higher sovereign authority than to grant, protect, and preserve the night sky.

When you turn off the lights, you unite mother and sun.

This entry was posted in June 2018, Sidereal Times and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Thunderbird and the seven girls

  1. Thank you for reading, my prose, “Thunderbird and the Seven Girls”.

    I wanted to take the time to credit the source of inspiration. During each of our Tuesday nights’ meeting some of our gifted amateur astronomers leave at the outside table, reading material that they graciously contribute for free distribution to members. I wanted to say thank you, to my anonymous benefactor for the following journal:

    Journal of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences
    Spring 2018
    “Unfolding Futures: Indigenous Ways of Knowing for the Twenty-First Century”
    Volume 147, Number 2, Spring 2018

    (many authors to note, here – please excuse my brevity)

    A character was introduced to me, by way of a brief genealogy of sovereignty, on page 17, of the above cited Journal.

    It is titled, “Nenahozho Goes Fishing: A Sovereignty Story”.
    Authors, Heidi Kiiwetinepinesiik Stark & Kekek Jason Stark

    I want to thank the authors, Heidi Stark (Turtle Mountain Ojibwe) and Kekek Star (Turtle Mountain Ojibwe) for their inspiration. Ms Stark is an Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of the Graduate Certificate in Indigenous Nationhood at the University of Victoria. Mr. Stark is Tribal Attorney for the Lac Courts Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians.

    Please know that the essay, as it appears here, in “Sidereal Times, The Official Publication of the Amateur Astronomers Association of Princeton”, is my own work, and that The Starks’ essay has provided an introduction into relational paradigms. In my own discourse, I extend that paradigm to include all of you, earth and sky.

    Thank you again, for your patronage to achieve a dark skies initiative for Astronomy.

    Lastly, I hold no copyright on this work. And make it freely available for distribution subject to the normal limits of publishing, and constraints placed upon it by our AAAP Club, its members, and the editorial staff of Sidereal times.


    Theodore R. Frimet
    Member and Keyholder, AAAP
    June 2, 2018

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