Watchlist: ‘Why some Native American Tribes do their best to avoid seeing an eclipse’

04.12.2024 Kamiah Koch Watchlist


By Kamiah Koch

Social media/digital journalist

Although many Tribal members and United Stated citizens flocked to catch a glimpse of the eclipse, Arkansas CBS-affiliated 5News reports some Tribes have cultural beliefs that encouraged their people to avoid seeing it.

Navajo Nation Tribal member Alaynna Littlefeather described her Tribe’s cultural practices during the solar eclipse as a time for mourning and rest. 

“An eclipse is essentially a disturbance or the death of the sun,” she said. “He is considered a father figure in Navajo Culture. He is the reason why we have everything: Our plants, our harvesting. We are essentially mourning his disappearance at this time so we are trying to be very dormant during our regular routine.”

Littlefeather said during the time before and after the eclipse she will rest, do no heavy lifting and consume little food and water.

“Growing up in a very close community with a lot of Navajos, everyone knows these rule so you don’t necessarily feel alone or isolated in these instances,” she said.

Things are different outside of her Tribal community.

During a last eclipse in 2017 she had to email her college professor to inform him she would not be attending class due to her cultural beliefs. She also had to refrain from seeing the eclipse herself, which left her a little disappointed. However, Littlefeather said she follows those traditions because they are there for a reason.

You can watch the rest of Littlefeather’s interview at or find in linked on the Smoke Signals YouTube page “Watchlist” playlist.