Sky Legends of the Three Fires
Produced by the Kalamazoo Valley Museum
Larry Plamondon, known as Two Hawks, invites us into the wigwam to gather around the flickering campfire for three stories about the night sky. The stories come from the Anishnabe, the People of the Three Fires. These are the Native American people of western and northern Michigan. Each story is introduced in the language of the Anishnabe as contemporary Native American artwork reveals key images from the stories that follow.
The first story follows the Creator as he gathers star flowers to fill the night sky with pictures. As he naps while waiting for darkness, Coyote steals the bag and runs away. The bag rips open, and the flowers scatter across the sky at random. Coyote cries as he looks at the disorder. The Creator leaves the task of making star pictures to the Anishnabe.
The second tale is of a race between Snapping Turtle and Mud Turtle. Swimming across the bottom of Lake Michigan, they try to prove who is the best swimmer. When mud turtle encounters an underwater cliff, he swims upward so quickly that he swims out of the water and into the sky, trailing a path of mud and debris which becomes the Milky Way.
The third legend follows three hunters as they chase a bear. An Ogema, or leader, uses a magic spell to protect the bear. The bear and hunters are carried into the sky where they become the Big Dipper we see in the night sky today.