The changing colors of leaves, each Fall, signals shorter days and colder nights. Most ancient people didn’t have the luxury of a “Weather App” or news channel to know what time of year it was. They relied upon natures’ signs to keep them up to date.
Native peoples would make up stories to support the changing of the seasons. These Campfire Stories were passed down from generation to generation.
My favorite is the story about the 3 Indian Hunters chasing the Great Bear across the sky. We know this star constellation as the Big Dipper or Ursa Major.
When you look at the constellation, you can imagine the bears shape on the ladles cup. The handle represents the 3 Indian hunters. The First hunter is carrying a bow and arrow. He has wounded the Great Bear. The Second hunter is carrying a cooking pot so the trio can enjoy the food they plan to harvest. The Third hunter is carrying a spear in case they need to finish off the bear. The pot, spear and bow are represented by stars that can be seen with the help of optics or a very clear night.
The Hunters are chasing the Great Bear across the heavens and each October they get closer. The Great Bear struggles to stay ahead and opens the wound. The blood pours out upon the Earth and colors the leaves. We call this Fall.
(Written by & photos by Montana Grant)