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State Constellation of South Dakota

Updated: Feb 17, 2020

This is the Bill:

  1. FOR AN ACT ENTITLED, An Act to designate Tayamni as the official constellation of South Dakota. BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA:Section 1. That chapter 1-6 be amended by adding thereto a NEW SECTION to read as follows: State Constellation.  Tayamni is hereby designated as the official state constellation of South Dakota.

Astronomy is fascinating, and a state constellation might be a way to engage the public and particularly students in studying the night sky. Some of the research i have done on Lakota star knowledge is published in a little booklet Tender Reverence: Explorations of the Lakota Universe, which is a field guide to the film that CAIRNS co-produced, Lakota Star Knowledge. Tayamni (tah-YAH-munee) would be a good choice. As written by Craig Howe in Tender Reverence, it is “one of the most fascinating and largest constellations in the Lakota sky. It is comprised of seven stars from three Greek constellations. One of the stars is in the Taurus constellation, five are in the Orion constellation, and one is in the constellation Canis Major.” It can be seen in the night sky from mid-August to mid-April. Three of its stars are Orion’s belt and therefore easily identified in the night sky. One of its stars is the star cluster Pleiades, and another is the brightest star in the night sky, Sirius. As for what Tayamni is: “We do not know if Tayamni is a being that walks or crawls on earth, swims in water, or flies through the air. All we know is based on the names of its seven stars: it has a head, a backbone, ribs and a tail.

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