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"Nooko's spirit is there in the stars," says Niigaanii to his younger brother, Bineshiinh, as they sprawl in a meadow, gazing skyward. "Uncle said when Nooko': s spirit left this world it went there." Nooko was their grandmother, and they miss her. But Uncle helps them find comfort in the night sky, where all the stars have stories.
Indeed, there are so many stars and so many stories that the boys spend night after night observing and sharing, making sense of patterns and wisdom in "the forever sky." They see a moose, a loon, a crane, the Path of Souls, and so much more.
One night, a beautiful show of lights fills the sky. Niigaanii explains that the northern lights are the spirits of the relatives who have passed on. The boys imagine different relatives dancing, lighting up the sky with their graceful movements. And then they see her: Nooko is one of the elders leading the dance. She has a message for them. One they can share with their parents and their uncle and everyone else who remembers her. One that lends power to the skies and brings smiles to the stargazers' faces.
About the Author
Thomas Peacock (Fond du Lac Band, Lake Superior Chippewa) is a coauthor of The Four Hills of Life and The Good Path. Annette S. Lee is a professor of astronomy and a professional visual artist. Her communities are Ojibwe and D/Lakota, and she is the director of Native Skywatchers.