A Map of the Sky

Long ago, people looked up at the stars. They wondered: what are those far-away lights?

Pawnee people did more than wonder. They made maps of the sky!

Pawnees are Native Americans. Today, they live all over the United States. Many Pawnee people live in Oklahoma. They live on their reservation. A reservation is land owned by a Native American tribe.

Long ago, most Pawnees lived in what is now Nebraska. They were smart astronomers. They knew the difference between stars and planets. They watched the night sky carefully. They studied where stars were in the sky. Based on that, they chose when to plant their crops and where to build their homes.

The Pawnees made maps of the night sky. Their star maps are famous. One map is more than 300 years old. It was made on animal skin. The map shows dim stars and bright stars. It has a special mark for the brightest star. The Pawnees believed it was the ruler of the star world. Today, a lot of people call it the North Star.