Chalk drawings of the solar eclipse by children. Photo: TroyDCline NASA
Environment | National

Navajo Nation leaders urge reflection as rare solar eclipse crosses United States





Leaders of the Navajo Nation are urging their citizens to stay inside as a total solar eclipse crosses the United States.

The reservation isn't in the path of totality of the eclipse, which occurs when the Moon completely covers the Sun's disk. But tribal leaders say their traditions require them to take special precautions.

"In accordance with Dine teachings, one must not look at the eclipse, must respect the eclipse by maintaining stillness in their homes, and not partake of food or water during the period of the eclipse," a memo signed by the leaders of all three branches of the tribal government stated.

Several schools on the reservation will be closed and tribal employees have been granted administrative leave during the entirety of Monday's event. Eating, drinking, napping and other types of activities are being discouraged from around 10am to 2pm, Mountain time.

Dine College, a tribal college on the reservation, will remain open during the eclipse. A teaching event is being held at the Tsaile campus in Tsaile, Arizona, to share Navajo teachings about the eclipse.

“We as Diné are going to experience something that rarely happens across our lands, and we can use this rare opportunity to teach our children and people about the significance of the solar eclipse," Navajo Nation Council Council Delegate Nathaniel Brown said in a press release.

The eclipse will be visible across the continental United States on Monday afternoon, with the path of totality stretching from Oregon to South Carolina. The Northern Arapaho Tribe has welcomed visitors to the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming to observe the event.

It’s “something students are going to remember for a lifetime,” Principal Elberta Monroe of the Ft. Washakie School on the reservation told The Associated Press. Students there will be using telescopes donated by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to view the eclipse, the AP said.

NASA will offer live streams from various locations at nasa.gov/eclipselive.

Read More on the Story:
Tribes hope for renewal in solar eclipse; not all will watch (The Associated Press August 19, 2017)
Respect and reverence: Local tribes prepare members for eclipse (The Santa Fe New Mexican August 18, 2017)
How ancient cultures explained eclipses (The Charlotte Observer August 19, 2017)

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