Kumeyaay culture curated by Kumeyaay scholar, Michael Connolly Miskwish, and Mataam Naka Shin, the San Diego-Panama Exposition Centennial Intertribal Committee at the Museum of Us.   This is the first time that Kumeyaay culture has been curated by the people themselves at the museum (formerly known as the Museum of Man).

What do you see when you gaze up at the night sky? Do you look for familiar shapes in the stars like Orion’s Belt or the Big Dipper? What do the Kumeyaay Peoples see when they look at the stars?

For generations, the Kumeyaay Peoples have studied the night sky, developing a deeply-rooted cosmological belief system that centers on the Kumeyaay Mat’taam (calendar year), My Uuyow (sky knowledge), and constellation map.


This extension of the main exhibit gallery explores the traditions and meanings of these cosmological beliefs, like how the Kumeyaay Peoples have different names and forms for constellations than those given to them by Europeans.


When the Kumeyaay Peoples spot Orion’s Belt or the Big Dipper, they actually see the constellations ‘Emuu (Mountain Sheep) and Selq Hatun (Arm)?


Naka_Shin_Panelsv5-04cThey also see Kwellyap Ketull (North Star) at the center of the night sky, keeping watch over all human activities, surrounded by Hutcha (6 Laughing Girls) and Shaii (Buzzard), Hechkulk (Wolf) and Nemuuly (Bear), and Awii (Rattlesnake), the conveyor of punishment for improper deeds.


See if you can spot these constellations and many others on the exhibit’s giant constellation map – or better yet, the next time you’re looking up at the night sky!

Visit the Museum of Us website for more information.



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