Asteroids given names in Luiseno language

An astronomer who identified three asteroids asked the Pauma Band of Mission Indians to give them names in the Luiseno language.

Jean Mueller of the Palomar Observatory said she wanted to pay tribute to the tribe's history. The observatory is located near the reservation.

"I wanted to recognize their history in a tangible fashion, and naming the asteroids for them seemed like a fitting thing to do," said Mueller at a ceremony on Tuesday, The North County Times reported.

The asteroids were named Tukmit, Tomaiyowit and Kwiila -- all figures from the tribe's creation story. Tukmit is Father Sky, Tomaiyowit is Mother Earth and Kwiila is black oak, one of the first people.

"As we try to teach our culture to our kids, this is very significant to us,: said Chairman Chris Devers, the paper reported.

Get the Story:
Asteroids named in Luiseno language (The North County Times 4/8)
Observatory names three asteroids for tribal words (The San Diego Union-Tribune 4/8)