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Astronomie et cultures autochtones


CHIN, Ottawa, Ontario

The Sun

Amongst the Murray River people of South Australia the origin of the sun is linked to the tossing of a giant emu egg into the sky where it struck a heap of dry wood and burst into a golden flame, the colour of egg yolk, bringing light to what had formerly been a dark world. The Great Spirit Baiame, seeing how much the world was improved by this flood of golden sunlight, decided to re-light the woodpile each day.

The Sun is a Sky Woman who has her camp in the east. Each morning she wakes up and lights a bark torch that she will carry across the sky during the day.

Early in the morning, Sky Woman decorates herself with crushed red ochre. Some of this ochre falls as dust, coloring the sky and clouds pink; hence the sunrise. Her daughter wants to come with her but the Sun Woman always refuses, because two suns in the sky would be so hot that they would set the country on fire. By evening the Sun Woman has traveled to the western edge of the world. Here she renews her body paint, producing the glow of sunset before starting on her long journey under the earth back to the east. In some stories she changes into a wallaby and hops through a long underground tunnel. While she is traveling under the ground, her bark torch warms the earth and makes the plants grow.

Like many stories, this one points to the close connection between the sky and the earth.
Canadian Heritage Information Network

© Canadian Heritage Information Network, 2003
Learning Object Collection: Sky Stories: Indigenous Astronomy
Learning Object: Indigenous Astronomy: The Australians
Institution: RCIP-CHIN