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The First Astronomers : How Indigenous Elders read the stars - Duane Hamacher
Best of 2022

The First Astronomers

How Indigenous Elders read the stars

By: Duane Hamacher

Paperback | 4 March 2022

At a Glance

Paperback


RRP $34.99

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The First Astronomers is the first book to explain for general readers the rich knowledge of the stars and the planets held by First Peoples around the world.

Our eyes have been drawn away from the skies to our screens. We no longer look to the stars to forecast the weather, predict the seasons or plant our gardens. Most of us cannot even see the Milky Way. But First Nations Elders around the world still maintain this knowledge, and there is much we can learn from them.

These Elders are expert observers of the stars. They teach that everything on the land is reflected in the sky, and everything in the sky is reflected on the land. How does this work, and how can we better understand our place in the universe?

Guided by six First Nations Elders, Duane Hamacher takes us on a journey across space and time to reveal the wisdom of the first astronomers. These living systems of knowledge challenge conventional ideas about the nature of science and the longevity of oral tradition. Indigenous science is dynamic, adapting to changes in the skies and on Earth, pointing the way for a world facing the profound disruptions of climate change.

About the Author

Duane Hamacher is Associate Professor of Cultural Astronomy in the School of Physics at the University of Melbourne. He earned graduate degrees in astrophysics and the social sciences and has appeared on TEDx, The Story of God with Morgan Freeman, and many other high profile local and international programs. He serves as an expert consultant for UNESCO and works for Indigenous elders in the Torres Strait and around the world to document traditional star knowledge for educational programs and public understanding.

For more details about the Elders and Knowledge Holders www.thefirstastronomers.com
Industry Reviews
'Challenges Western notions of science as the only true measure of reality and truth. It treats Indigenous astronomy - and, by extension, Indigenous culture more broadly - not as an anthropological curiosity, but as a sophisticated and living body of knowledge that contains within it a radically different idea of human beings' place within nature.' - The Australian

'Stunning in scope, impressive in detail and accessible in style' - The Conversation

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