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MSUB hosts Northern Cheyenne language project's 'star stories' with Stellar Insights

Posted at 5:23 PM, Mar 23, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-24 12:46:33-04

BILLINGS — On Tuesday, Montana State University, Billings' (MSUB) library hosted Elaine Westbrook as a speaker alongside her collaborators with the Northern Cheyenne indigenous tribe to speak about their preservation of the tribe's "star stories."

“Librarians, we love to share," said Eileen Wright, the MSUB library director, "We like to not only highlight our own faculty members, but we’re highlighting our community members.”

Westbrook said she partnered the tribe's star stories with "planetarium-style video presentations" to emphasize the benefits of multiple perspectives.

“It’s called two eyed seeing. It is the merging of, through two lenses, an indigenous way of looking and a western way of looking at the same topic," said Westbrook.

The Cheyenne language is considered endangered by various organizations, including the Endangered Languages Project.

“It really made me realize how poetic the Cheyenne language is," said Rosalia Badhorse, the transcriber of the star stories, "Humans and stars, our celestial objects in the sky, are grammatically in the same category. They’re both considered animate.”

MSUB is hosting its Stellar Insights series, a celebration of all things space, from March 12 to April 9. Its next event will host Emily Calandrelli, the host and co-executive producer of Emily’s Wonder Lab on Netflix, on Tuesday, March 26.