In British Colombia, the knowledge that Aboriginal people have on universe and the solar system is really deep. They had lots of practical knowledge and that allowed them to measure time and seasons accurately even before the Europeans arrived. Most of the ideas from both the groups are almost the same. There is a big diversity of Aboriginal peoples cultures. Each of the groups has its own unigue ideas about nature. What all systems have in common is a world view that is holistic. The word 'holistic' means that all the aspects of the physical and spiritual universe are overlapped to form a whole. The Aboriginal people strongly believe that all the life forms are interconnected to one another. They also realize that a balance is extremely essential for all organisms' survival.
An Interconnected Universe
Aboriginal people have observed the Moon, Sun, planets and other celestial bodies and came up with theories about the Earth's relationship with all of these bodies. They belive that the existence is made up of a number of interconnected areas or realms. Some of the realms are the undersea or sea world, the land world, the spirit world and the sky world. In an interconnected universe, it is impossible to separate these realms.
Western science is mostly based on the physical realm. It includes phenomena that can be physically observed, measured, documented or tested. On the other hand, spiritual realm too is really important to the Aboriginal people who deeply believes in an interconnected universe. They believe that the knowledge gained from vision quest can be accepted.A 'vision quest ' is a way that some people purposefully interact with the spiritual realm.
Aboriginal Knowledge of the Moon
Click on the image for more info:
Aboriginal people have used their knowledge of the moon in their daily basis for a long time. In the coast of BC, the knowledge of lunar phases and the Moon's influence on various fish species, the weather and the ocean tides could help a fisherman succeed with his work. It is good for mariners navigating coastal waters to be aware of lunar phases and the corresponding low and high tides. Aboriginal people developed a way to tracking and forecast time based on the lunar months. The length of time from one new moon to an other new moon is a way to measure the lunar month. The length of time is usually about 29.5 days. The Nuu-chah-nulth used a 13 month lunar cycle. The cycle included four season and the summer and winter solstices.
The Use of Planet and Star Positions
In British Colombia, Aboriginal peoples predict positions of planets and stars in the night sky for information. This helped Aboriginal peoples in many ways. Traditional hunters were able to determine their location on the land and traditional fishermen and mariners could determine their location on the ocean. With the ability of knowing the position of celestial bodies at specific times of the year. Aboriginal peoples could accurately measure the length of seasons. One time, observers in each Nuu-chah-nulth community tracked the daily movements of the Sun as it rose and set.Through their observation, they were able to find out that the Sun moved toward well-documented solstice positions on the horizons. The marking of positions revealed the Sun's maximum northern declination. Aboriginal artists represented the importance of the Sun, the Moon, and the stars through their artwork.
Aboriginal Knowledge and Western Science
Click on the image for more info:
Aboriginal knowledge of the universe has grown out of centuries of careful observation, experience and from the knowledge of the interconnection of all realms of existence. Aboriginal knowledge has contributed to the knowledge of Western Science. Aboriginal observations of constellation movements are now part of the overall body of knowledge known as astronomy. There are some aspects of the Aboriginal knowledge that have not yet been fully incorporated into Western Science. Aboriginal knowledge of interconnected universe is not incorporated with the Western Science.