The total solar eclipse and Native Americans.
Tomorrow is the the total solar eclipse. For those of you that don’t know, I am half Navajo on my mothers side, and I am Prairie Band Potowatomi, Sac and Fox, Kickapoo, and Shawnee on my fathers side. According to Navajo culture and lore, when a solar or lunar eclipse occurs, Navajo people must stay inside and not look at the eclipse. To Navajo people the sun and the moon are sacred spirits and when they overlap in an eclipse we must respect this unison by staying inside sitting quietly, praying and reflecting upon ourselves. The spirits are performing their own ceremony and we must not eat, drink water, or go about our daily activities. Navajo people believe that if a Navajo person does not give respect to these spirits and go out during the eclipse, looking at the eclipse, or not praying at home quietly (means no tv, no video games, no phone, not much talking, no playing with toys for kids) can lead to great misfortune to ones self or their family. We must give thanks to the creator and the other spirits that give us what we need to live in this world. So me and my family will not be outside peering at the sun and moon. We will be praying from the start of the eclipse to when it ends. It will be a long wait but this teaches us patience’s and teaches us to be thankful for the things we have. Some people may think this is a burden or think it silly but this has been apart of Navajo culture long before this country was formed. This also goes for a lot of tribes in the southwest. I know that the Pueblo’s and Apache’s have a similar outlook on the eclipse, but I am sure a lot of other tribes do as well. So please keep in mind that not everyone will be viewing the eclipse and to know that for some people around the world this eclipse is a representation of powerful spirits and forces that come together to bring blessings as well as teach us that we are all just children on mother earth in the presence of two amazing beings, and the creator.
A side note is that in New Mexico and Arizona, a lot of Native American students that are apart of the tribes not involving themselves in the eclipse are excusing students, or shutting down entire schools so students do not have to view the eclipse. I found this pretty amazing, but I wish that schools outside these areas, that have students of these tribe would do so as well. Some schools do not see it as a sacred event and will give unexcused absences or belittle students and parents for having their child skip school. But when push comes to shove these religious acts are protected by right to religion and schools are not allowed to infringe upon these ceremonial proceedings. Also certain businesses, and native gov'ts are letting their Native American staff members off for this day. “THE MORE YOU KNOW!”
For those of you viewing the eclipse… go buy the eclipse viewing glasses (but make sure they are the real deal because I heard their are fakes going around). I know you can also make a small hole on top of a box and cut a small viewing screen on the side to see the light coming through the pin hole to make a circle and just watch the light get blocked out by the moon. But there are other ways to view it without the glasses, but for the love of the creator, don’t just stare at the eclipse you can make yourself blind!