A Pawnee brave named Petalesharow in classic headdress. He was painted by Charles B. King.
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Corel Photography

The Skidi Band of the Pawnee Tribe

The Skidi Band of the Pawnee tribe were some of the most advanced starwatchers of North America. They originally lived in villages in Nebraska. They were forced to move to reservations in Oklahoma at the end of the 1800's.

Long ago, society in the Skidi Band was complex and ordered. Human social rank was based on the ranking of the star gods. You see, the Pawnee saw the stars as gods who interacted with humans. These stars or gods were ranked in order of importance.

The star ranking is:

  • 1st - The Red Morning Star Warrior (probably Mars) who mated with female Evening Star (probably Venus) to produce the first humans
  • 2nd - The four gods who supported the heavens - they were located at NW, NE, SW, SE
  • 3rd - The Sun, the Moon, and then the gods of the four cardinal directions (N, E, S, W)

Much of Pawnee life was based on the stars in the heavens. They had shrines dedicated to certain stars. They didn't have a calendar, because the position of the stars told the people when certain events were suppose to happen. The stars were so important that the Skidi Band began to note where the stars were in relation to each other. And so, the Skidi Band are known to have drawn star charts long ago.

The Pawnee people watched the sky and the stars closely because their mythology, their social and religious rituals, and even their social divisions depended on it.

Last modified September 9, 2000 by Jennifer Bergman.

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