Astronomy of the Americas was developed with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Science Foundation, as part of an exhibition entitled 1492: Two Worlds of Science. Assistance was also provided by Nancy Beers and Ceres Bainbridge of the National Geographic Society, Explorer’s Hall, who made available the Society’s magnificent collection of images, books, and articles for this project. Initial ideas for the program were developed by Cary Sneider as part of the overall design for the exhibition.
Astronomy of the Americas was developed as both a participatory planetarium program and series of classroom lessons. Staff members who conducted the basic research for Astronomy of the Americas, designed the activities and special effects, wrote and edited this volume, and tested the program with audiences at the Lawrence Hall of Science were: Edna DeVore (Project Coordinator), Alan Gould, Greg Steerman, John Hewitt, Kevin Cuff, Steve Luntz, Melinda Santos, Debra Sutter, JohnMichael Seltzer, and Nina Serrano.
Key consultants who contributed ideas and expert advice on this program include: Clara Sue Kidwell, Professor in the Native American Studies Department, University of California at Berkeley; Lee Davis, Director of the California Indian Project, Lowie Museum of Anthropology, University of California at Berkeley; Lee Sprague, Native American Performer with the Turtle Island Ensemble, San Francisco; Dennis Jennings, Native American Health Center, San Francisco; David Dearborn, Physicist and Ethnoastronomer, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; Woodrow Bora, Professor Emeritus, History Department, University of California at Berkeley; William Simmons, Department of Anthropology, University of California at Berkeley; Patricia Amlin, Film maker, Berkeley, California; and Ed Krupp, Ethnoastronomer and Director of the Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles, California.
We are also grateful to the entire Hupa community, who live in Hoopa Valley, California, and especially to Dale Risling, Chairman of the Tribal Council; Ralph Miguelena, Curator, Hupa Tribal Museum; and Jill Fletcher, Educator. Lee Davis, of the Lowie Museum of Anthropology at University of California in Berkeley, provided valuable research data on Hupa astronomy and put us in contact with Hupa community leaders. We obtained their permission to include their traditions in our program. Hupa tribal leaders invited us to visit Hoopa Valley, and even to view the sacred Jump Dance. In the early stages of our program development, staff member Debra Sutter returned to Hoopa Valley to present the program to several hundred school children and many tribal leaders. They provided guidance as to the program’s accuracy.