What is the Cultural Significance of the Moon for Native Americans?

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In summary: Anyway, I think that's a pretty funny story.In summary, the three Americans on the team did not understand the significance of the moon to the Montegnards and were confused by the response.
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gabriel alexander
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Here's a little funny story I read in a book written by Carl Sagan, God rest his soul. I can't remember exactly which one, since I read four of his books. I think it was The Demon Haunted World, I'm not sure. But here goes: Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins were letting off some steam in a Native American reservation, just before their historical journey. They met a man who was weaving baskets and they approached him. They introduced themselves, to which they guy said "Oh, you're the guys who are about to fly to the moon, right? The whole media is all over you. Listen, my tribe believes that there are Natives living on the moon as well. When you get there, could you please send them a message?" "Sure," the three said. The man uttered a sentence in his language and asked them if they can remember it. They said yes, but what does it mean? "They"ll know what it means," the guy replied. Needless to say they encountered no Natives on the moon, but they remembered the sentence and, intrigued, they visited a linguist after they came back. After he heard it, the guy laughed and said: "It means "Don't trust these three white yahoos here. They came to steal your land and exterminate you, just like they did to us." I don't know if it's true or not, I don't know if this is the right version, but I hope I made you laugh.
 
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That's a great story. It's an example of a Bellerophontic letter from the story of Bellerophon where he carried a letter from one king to another which said to kill the bearer of the letter. However, the other king couldn't do it because he had already offered his hospitality to his guest.

https://www.greekmythology.com/Myths/Heroes/Bellerophon/bellerophon.html

The king decided to send Bellerophon on some quests in the hopes that he would die.
 
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Se non è vero, è ben trovato.
 
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I read a book about the Studies and Observations Group (SOG) in the Vietnan War. There was a team of three Americans and six or so Montegnards, Natives of Vietnam and Laos, running a secret cross border mission in Laos in 1968. The team had set up for the night when HQ told the Americans about the moon landing happening as they spoke. The Americans tried to tell the Montegnards about mission to the moon, and it absolutely did not compute. To them the moon was a sacred godlike thing or something, I don't remember the significance of the moon in their culture. But the idea of humans leaving the Earth to explore the moon was just incomprehensible to them. Kind of funny how we choose to look at the same thing with different views.
 

Related to What is the Cultural Significance of the Moon for Native Americans?

What is the significance of the moon in Native American culture?

The moon holds great significance in Native American culture, often being seen as a symbol of wisdom, protection, and guidance. Many tribes have lunar calendars that dictate their ceremonies and rituals, and the phases of the moon are often incorporated into their creation stories and legends.

Did Native Americans have any specific names for the moon?

Yes, many Native American tribes had their own names for the moon, often based on their geographic location and cultural beliefs. For example, the Lakota Sioux call the full moon "Wipecakiyapi" which means "moon of the middle of winter," while the Cherokee refer to it as "Nvdo" meaning "the moon."

How did Native Americans use the moon for practical purposes?

Native Americans used the moon for various practical purposes, such as tracking time and seasons. They also used the moon for hunting and fishing, as certain phases of the moon were believed to affect the behavior of animals and the tides of the ocean. Additionally, the moon was used for navigation during travel and trade.

Were there any spiritual or religious beliefs associated with the moon in Native American culture?

Yes, the moon held significant spiritual and religious beliefs in Native American culture. Many tribes believed that the moon had the power to influence the spiritual world and the physical world. Some even held ceremonies and rituals during certain phases of the moon to honor and connect with their ancestors and spirits.

How did the moon play a role in Native American agriculture?

The moon was often used as a guide for planting and harvesting crops in Native American agriculture. Certain phases of the moon were believed to affect the growth and yield of crops, and many tribes had specific rituals and ceremonies related to farming that were tied to the lunar calendar.

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