Diversifying Astronomy: Introducing Indigenous astronomy and sky knowledge into the astronomy classroom

Diversifying Astronomy: Introducing Indigenous astronomy and sky knowledge into the astronomy classroom

  • Professor Hilding Neilson,¬†Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Faculty of Arts and Science

Abstract

The night sky belongs to everyone, all cultures view the sky and learn about the Universe and nature from their observations. This project will¬†continue an ongoing program and take the next steps to explore and compile astronomical knowledge from Indigenous groups from Canada and internationally to develop new teaching modules and learning experiences that can be used in courses across the astronomy and astrophysics program at the University of Toronto. Currently, there is no Indigenous astronomy/sky knowledge in the Department’s key astronomy courses. With about 3000 students enrolled in astronomy courses every year, there is a tremendous opportunity to present Indigenous perspectives of the sky and science. In collaboration with members of the Centrefor Indigenous Studies, a methodology will be developed to incorporate Indigenous knowledge into our astronomy courses while honouring Indigenous cultures and peoples. This methodology serves as a framework for incorporating Indigenous sciences into other science disciplines at the University of Toronto. These learning modules are being developed by compiling sources and interviews with local First Nation Elders/Indigenous Knowledge Holders and educators and will be made freely available
and jointly maintained by the Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics and the Centre for Indigenous Studies. From these interviews, new Planetarium shows, scholarly works, and course materials will be developed with the final goal of creating a new Indigenous Astronomy course at the University of Toronto.