The primary objective of The Legendary Sky Project is to enhance the curriculum in the Northwest Territories through the development of learning modules that provide teachers, parents and students with modern and traditional knowledge of the sky above their community.
With the support of the Government of the Northwest Territories and the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre, a collaborative process was launched in 2010:
Phase I: Inventory of Existing Northern Sky Knowledge and Heritage
In the first phase of the project the Astronomy North Society worked to identify and categorize existing northern sky knowledge and heritage information from each region in the Northwest Territories. Research began with a scan of territorial resources and expanded to community libraries and relevant education and culture-based resources. The initial collection of regional and territorial information was compiled into a database that sorted information into the following categories:
- Words, Phrases and Terminology;
- Place Names;
- Legends and Lore;
- Stories that make reference to the Northern Sky.
Information was also categorized by language group: Inuvialuit (Inuvialuktun, Innuinaqtun), Gwich’in, Sahtu Dene (North Slavey), Tlicho (Dogrib), Dehcho (South Slavey), Akaitcho (Cree, Chipewayan).
Phase II: Community Engagement
Following the initial identification and categorization of existing northern sky knowledge and heritage information, Astronomy North Society worked with northern and national partners to develop The Legendary Sky Exhibit in 2010, an outreach tool dedicated to raising awareness of the Nature, Culture and Wonder of Canada’s Northern Sky and to promoting the collection and preservation of northern sky knowledge and heritage at the community level.
The Culture Section of the exhibit introduced examples of the traditional knowledge information that was captured during the initial scan of regional and territorial resources:
- Words and terminology provided by the Inuvialuit Social Cultural Institute;
- Words, terminology and stories provided by the Gwich’in Social and Cultural Institute and the Gwich’in Language Centre;
- Words, terminology and stories from the Sahtu Region collected by the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre and Deline Teaching and Learning Centre;
- A collection of cultural and language-based resources compiled by the Astronomy North Society.
The exhibit was developed to support research for curriculum development initiatives and is available for those organizations with an educational mandate and/or a mandate to collect and preserve traditional knowledge.
Phase III: Curriculum Development Initiatives
The Astronomy North Society and its resources are available to assist organizations that have an educational mandate in the Northwest Territories, including regional and territorial organizations that have a mandate to collect and preserve traditional knowledge in the Northwest Territories.
To initiate a community-specific or regional curriculum development initiative, organizations seeking the involvement of Astronomy North Society must demonstrate local support for the development of community-specific learning modules and identify the elders, classrooms and organizations that will be involved, as well as the proposed methodology.
Astronomy North Society can contribute to the development of community presentations; the development and implementation of surveys (as sanctioned by regional and/or territorial research institutions); assistance with funding applications; assistance with the development of promotional materials (ie posters, websites); use of The Legendary Sky Exhibit and The Legendary Sky brand; access to over 200,000 images; access to subject matter specialists; the support of Astronomy North volunteers and more. Please note, the Astronomy North Society is a non-profit organization and contributions are subject to availability of resources/volunteers.