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Knowledge of the Moon from Pueblo, Maya, and Zapotec Indigenous Perspectives

Presentation #336.05 in the session “Collaboration with Integrity: Partnerships with Indigenous Communities in the Americas and Polynesia”.

Published onJan 11, 2021
Knowledge of the Moon from Pueblo, Maya, and Zapotec Indigenous Perspectives

Across the Earth, indigenous people have thrived with resilience and cultural strength for millennia. Many indigenous people still walk on the same land where their ancestors developed monumental cities, exquisite art, precise astronomical calendars, and sustainable ways of living based on science attuned to the natural environment. However, the pressures of globalization, unsustainable tourism, and relentless information technology contribute to the erosion of traditional knowledge, heritage, values, and indigenous ways of knowing. For indigenous youth, a strong cultural identity is critical for making appropriate decisions for themselves and their people. To be empowered as agents of positive change for their communities, youth need intentional and sustained opportunities to learn from elders and peers, as well as the land and the sky. Mother Moon is a cross-cultural research project to foster a timely and much needed re-engagement and personal connection with the Moon. The project enabled intergenerational and cultural exchange between Pueblo, Maya, and Zapotec women and elders, serving as a strong motivator for tapping and nourishing traditional knowledge tied to the Moon for the benefit of future generations, particularly young women. Mother Moon was a three-year effort for women and elders to conduct research in their local communities focused on various themes related to the Moon. The research strengthened traditional knowledge and practice for the wellbeing of the women and their communities. Through intercultural collaborations including Maya, Pueblo, and Zapotec young women and elders, the project highlights unique female attributes connected to the Moon in the context of lunar astronomy, calendaring, fertility, midwifery, weaving, natural pigments, and plant medicine. We will share results of the collaborative research as well as the impact on the participants.


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