Planetarium Shares Aboriginal Lessons of Astronomy

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Working with a First Nations liaison and $20,000 in Innovations funding, HR MacMillan Space Centre launched Sky Stories – A First Nations Journey Experience in September 2007. The planetarium show reflected First Nations’ perspectives of the night sky and was two years in the making. A First Nations educator spent 24 months researching and developing new connections between space science and astronomy and Aboriginal ways of knowing about the night sky. The 35-minute, multi-media show was a departure from the planetarium’s conventional space and astronomy planning. The show linked to Grade 9 BC Science curriculum connecting space science and astronomy with First Nations knowledge. No other organization had provided such a resource. The show presented the authentic voices of First Nations people and provided strong role modeling for Aboriginal youth. The project also linked with sponsors’ requests to offer more environmental-based education. The event has since been promoted during the 2007 Field Trip Fair, attended by more than 500 teachers in the Lower Mainland. The Vancouver School Board also held a professional development day for Science teachers, which included a screening of Sky Stories.

Innovations invests in arts, cultural and heritage organizations wishing to create new opportunities for community members to participate in arts and cultural activities. The program is supported by the Province of British Columbia.