starpeopleA recent book about “star people” legends has been getting some play in the blogosphere recently: Encounters with Star People: Untold Stories of American Indians. I tried to order it but it was temporarily out of stock. I’ll revisit it later since I want to review it. I’m not holding my breath for reasons that will become clear below.

The author of the work is Ardy Sixkiller Clarke, professor emeritus at Montana State University. Although I have no doubts about her university affiliation and that she has a doctorate in something, her credentials are actually hard to identify.1 Wanting to know her background is just a point of curiosity for me. I’d like to know if it’s in something other than education — some content-oriented doctoral degree like anthropology or folklore studies. Educational doctorates are more about (educational) theory, method, administration, etc. But I’ll assume she knows what she’s talking about with respect to indigenous lore. And that’s really what I expect to find in the book … lore, not facts.

Readers can find a description of Clarke’s book here. I should warn readers that the blog post at this link is misleading. It has a picture of “alien” rock art that has nothing to do with Native Americans — it’s rock art from Australia.  I suppose that’s supposed to add weight to the content of Clarke’s book, but it’s misleading. But it’s not as bad as what you’ll find on other sites that make it sound like Native Americans have stories about genetic manipulation of homo sapiens by aliens and advanced astronomical knowledge. (What’s the ancient Cherokee word for DNA? … seriously, ancient people knew nothing of DNA). I’ll go out on a limb here and suggest that this book will be interesting and useful as a reference, but ALL that it will be is legends and stories, offering no hard data for experiences with beings whose extraterrestrial (i.e., from other physical planets) reality can be proven. But I’ll wait to say more after I read it, presuming it’ll be available.

  1. Clarke was Professor of Educational Leadership and the Director of the Center for Bilingual/Multicultural Education. She was also American Indian Professor of Educational Leadership and the Director Center for Bilingual/Multicultural Education.  Various websites also note that, “Dr. Ardy Sixkiller Clarke a Professor Emeritus at Montana State University has dedicated her life and career to working with indigenous populations. She has been adopted and given traditional names by three Northern Plains tribes.” The Montana State University site doesn’t have her listed as faculty, though her name does appear on the site. That tells me she must have retired from teaching a while ago. I’m just surprised I can’t easily find a degree for her. Her name also does not appear in the JSTOR database which covers scholarly journals in anthropology, folklore, and indigenous studies. I have to presume then that she hasn’t published anything under peer review, at least in terms of indigenous content. I’m guessing she has published in education journals.