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Sun Dogs!

Blog by Sister Patrice Colletti, SDS
Kateri Initiative – Sisseton, South Dakota

Check out the “sun dogs” seen over the tribal college! Very cool! Well, actually, very COLD as it was -4 when this picture was taken!

What’s a sun dog, you ask?

It’s those two glowing things on each side of the sun. Sometimes, if the sun is just a bit higher, there’s actually a full circle, around the sun.

Sun dogs are actually airborne ice crystals reflecting the sun’s rays. It’s sort of like a rainbow – water droplets reflecting the sun’s rays. Rainbows occur, generally, after a storm. Sun dogs, on the other hand, usually signal incoming cold. Oh, yay….

Why’s it called a sun dog? The Greeks named it because it reminded them of two dogs walking along beside their master.

The Northern Plains tribes, including the Dakota where I live, stories say the sun dog is a very powerful portent of change. A sign from Tunkasina (Grandfather God, Creator) marking a time of great change or transition on the Earth. 

It is also understood to be a sign to people of the necessity of living a life in respect and harmony with all the creations that make life possible – the relatives of humanity: plants, animals, waters, minerals, fires, winds, and other humans. 

Hmmmm…. somehow, both of those “fit” today, don’t they?

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