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Timbisha Shoshone Tribe

This area has long been home to the Panamint Shoshone, Timbisha Shoshone, Paiute, and other groups and tribes of Native Americans who predate history. These tribes all looked up at the broad, black sky each night. The bright moon, planets, and stars they saw remain largely unchanged to this day. Like nearly every people who has looked up and wondered at the stars, the Natives of the Great Basin and Mojave Desert saw aspects of their lives reflected back at them in the arrangement of the heavenly bodies. Some desert petroglyphs in the area are thought to represent constellations whose stories have been lost to time. Yet many stories have survived in the oral traditions of the people and are beginning to be written down.

The Pleiades

The Pleiades or the Seven Sisters, is visible all year long and widely recognized. Depending on how good your eyes are, this tight cluster of stars appears as a group of 7-12 stars to the naked eye. The stars of this group are distant, some are extremely faint, and some are quite twinkly. If you look to the side of the constellation, you may see a dim star or two that you cannot see while looking directly at it. The Shoshone say that this group of stars is a group of sister’s arguing over a man. The man’s mother is there, too, telling them to stop their arguing because one of them has her son’s knife. The mother is worried that the knife, a precious tool made with difficulty, will break.