CN employees, citizens observe solar eclipse
The Burrow family, of San Antonio, drove more than 500 miles to Tahlequah, Oklahoma, to witness the 2017 solar eclipse on Aug. 21 within the boundaries of the Cherokee Nation. ROGER GRAHAM/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Cherokee Nation employees Callie Benoit, left, Cora Lathrop and Lula Elk use protective eyewear to observe the 2017 solar eclipse from the tribe’s One Fire Field in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. ROGER GRAHAM/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation hosted a “Solar Eclipse Watch Party” for its employees and citizens on Aug. 21 at the One Fire Field, west of the W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex.
The eclipse began at 11:45 a.m. CST, peaked around 1:10 p.m. and ended about 2:40 p.m.
According to NASA’s website, all of North America was able to observe the sun’s eclipse. The totality path, where the moon completely covered the sun and its tenuous atmosphere stretched from Oregon to South Carolina. Observers outside this path, as in the case of the CN, saw a partial eclipse where the moon covered part of the sun. Locally it was estimated at about 90 percent coverage.
CN Communications officials handed out 1,000 pairs of NASA-approved solar eclipse viewing glasses to employees and visitors.
“A solar eclipse is an extremely rare event. We wanted our employees to witness and enjoy this rare occasion safely,” Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. said.
The Burrow family, of San Antonio, was among the many observers at One Fire Field.
“We drove to the Cherokee Nation specifically for the solar eclipse,” CN citizen Catherine Burrow said. “We wanted to be here for it.”
Throughout the watch party, Cherokee storyteller Robert Lewis shared the Cherokee eclipse story of how a frog once tried to eat the sun.
“Cherokees began screaming, yelling and banging on things until they scared the frog away and saved the sun,” he said.
Lewis summed up the eclipse philosophically. “It’s important that Cherokees see the eclipse because it reminds us of our place in the universe.”
According to Accu-weather.com, those who missed today’s eclipse will have to wait until April 8, 2024, when the moon’s shadow will once again block out the sun across the United States. Next time the path will be more southwest to southeast and spread from Texas to Maine.Cherokee Take on Eclipses
“When the sun or moon is eclipsed it is because a great frog up in the sky is trying to swallow it. Everybody knows this, even the Creeks and the other tribes, and in the olden times, 80 or 100 years ago, before the great medicine men were all dead, whenever they saw the sun grow dark the people would come together and fire guns and beat the drum, and in a little while this would frighten off the great frog and the sun would be all right again.”
– From “The Moon and The Thunderers” on Page 257 of James Mooney’s “History, Myths, and Sacred Formulas of the Cherokees”