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In the early 1500s, there were approximately 600 tribes known as nations of indigenous peoples in North America (Canada, United States, and Mexico). Each of these populations lived off the land quite successfully before they were forced to give up the land. Each nation had its own government, language, and way of life. For Europeans to consider the natives to be savage was just a way to explain away their acts of violence against "Indians," since, in truth, most of the North American people were no more violent than the Europeans invading this "new land."
It is believed that there were over a million people in North America, native to this land prior to Christopher Columbus' "discovery." By 1900, there were only about three hundred thousand Native Americans left in North America, with many relegated to living on substandard lands known as reservations, managed by the Federal Government.
Well before the Europeans and others immigrated to this land, the Native Americans were living on the land all the way from the Florida coast to the Pacific Northwest, and well into Alaska. On this North American portion of the American Continent, that now speaks predominantly English, along with Spanish and French, there were over 300 distinctly different languages. Of the approximately 570 recognized tribes, there were 229 tribes in Alaska. California had the next highest number of tribes that were recognized by the federal government. Of the remaining tribes that exist today, each has its own agreement with the United States but not all are "managed" nor receive funding from the government.
Each tribe, group, or nation, has their own history and stories to tell. So to assume that they all have the same beliefs, rules, and ideologies, would be like comparing the French to the Germans in their lifestyles simply because they are both nations in Europe.
Many people assume that the members of tribes all receive federal assistance. That is a faulty belief. Not all recognized tribes receive funding from the federal government. Tribal agencies that do receive funding do not necessarily pass the funding directly onto their members. Five Common Myths are: 1) Tribal Members Receive Free Housing (False), 2) Tribal Members Receive a Free College Education (False), 3) All Tribes get Rich from Casinos on Their Land (False), 4) Government or Tribal Funds are Sent to All Members of a Tribe (False), and 5) Native American's Don't Pay Taxes (False). But, you ask, what does this have to do with the Native American Moon Names we love to add each month to our Full Moons. Well, similar to these other misconceptions and assumptions, the, now commonly revered Native American Moon Names used by the Farmers' Almanac, was the proverbial drop in the bucket. So let's dive into some more history.
In the 1940s, a well-known Farmers' Almanac started using the Algonquin tribes' names of the 13 annual Full Moons as they aligned to the monthly calendar. These names grew in popularity, with little recognition to the people who used these names for the 13 lunar cycles annually. The names that the tribe used were usually associated with occurences that were common during each full moon's time of the year, specifically for that tribe. Starting in January, the common names used were Full Wolf Moon, Full Snow Moon [Feb], Full Worm Moon [Mar], Full Pink Moon [Apr], Full Flower Moon [May], Full Strawberry Moon [Jun], Full Buck Moon [Jul], Full Sturgeon Moon [Aug], Full Corn Moon [Sep], Full Harvest Moon [near the fall equinox], Full Hunters Moon [Oct], Full Beaver Moon [Nov], and Full Cold Moon [Dec].
Now to be fair, not all Native American Nations had moon names. Those that did, used moon names that were much different than these listed above. Plus, even within a nation, there may have been additional names based on what was occurring. Many moon names were unique to each tribe, or were similar based on similar life experiences, such as the Freezing Moon, the Windy Moon, the Cracking Tree Moon, or Someone's Ears are Freezing Moon. The point being made is that the monthly moon names that the Farmers' Almanac chose to utilize were not commonly used by all tribes and, as such, were unique, basically, to that region, not the entire country. To call these the "Native American Moon Names" is a disservice to all the other tribes that also had taken the time to name the full moons.
Regardless, indigenous people recognized the distinct differences between the four seasons, the three to four moons within each season, along with the life activities involved with those seasonal changes. Each group of people that did name the moon cycle, had their own preferences. While they may not have had names for each month, the full moon, as the "stand out moon event" each month, was given a name, similar to having a name for a month on the calendar, or the name of a zodiac sign that the moon is transiting through.
Below are three tables of unique and interesting full moon names from tribes all across North America. This is not a comprehensive list. There are way too many to list.
|Month||Farmers' Almanac||Anishinaabeg Nations||Cherokee Nations||Dakota Nations||Tlingit Nations||Haida Nations|
|January||Full Wolf Moon||Great Spirit Moon||Cold Moon||The Hard Moon||Goose Moon||Bear Hunting Moon|
|February||Full Snow Moon||Bear Moon||Bone Moon||Raccoon Moon||Black Bear Moon||Goose Moon|
|March||Full Worm Moon||Snow Crust Moon||Wind Moon||Sore-Eye Moon or Raccoon Breading Moon||Underwater Plants Sprout Moon||Noisy Goose Moon|
|April||Full Pink Moon||Broken Snowshoe Moon||Flower Moon||Geese Lay their Eggs Moon or Ducks Return Moon or Streams Flow Moon||Budding Plants Moon||Migratory Geese Moon|
|May||Full Flower Moon||Sucker Moon||Planting Moon||Planting Moon or Earth Digging Moon||Before Pregnancy Moon||Food Gathering Moon|
|June||Full Strawberry Moon||Blooming Moon||Green Corn Moon||Red Strawberries Moon||Birth Moon||Berries Ripen Moon|
|July||Full Buck Moon||Berry Moon||Corn in Tassel Moon||Choke Cherries are Ripe Moon or Geese Shed their Feathers Moon||Salmon Moon||Ripe Berries Moon|
|August||Full Sturgeon Moon||Grain Moon||Ripe Corn Moon||Harvest Moon, Corn Gets Ripe Moon, or Plums are Red Moon||Ripe Berries Moon||Salmon Moon|
|September||Full Corn Moon||Changing Leaves Moon||End of Fruit Moon||Rice Laid to Dry Moon or Leaves Turn Brown Moon||Young (animals) Moon||Cedar Bark for Hat Moon|
|October||Full Hunters Moon||Falling Leaves Moon||Harvest Moon or Great Moon||Drying Rice Moon, Wind Shakes Leaves Moon or Corn Harvest Moon||Big Moon||Ice Moon|
|November||Full Beaver Moon||Freezing Moon||Hunting Moon or Trading Moon||Winter Moon or Deer Rutting Moon||Scraping Moon||Bears Sleep Moon|
|December||Full Cold Moon||Little Spirit Moon||Snow Moon||Mid-winter Moon or Deer Shed Horns Moon||Unborn Seals Getting Hair Moon||Snow Moon|
|Month||Lakota Nations||Shoshone Nations||Kalapuya Nations||Cree Nations||Passama-|
|January||Hard||Freezing||Stay Inside||Old Fellow Spreads Brush||Whirling Wind||The Big Cold|
|February||Trees Crack||Coyote||Out of Food||Old Moon||Spruce Tips Fall||Lateness|
|March||Sore Eyes||Warming||Women Dig Camas||Eagle Moon||Spring||Much Lateness|
|April||Wives Crack Bones for Marrow||Melting||Time for Pounding Camas||Gray Goose Moon||Spring||Budding Tme|
|May||Green Leaves||Budding||Camas Blooming Time||Frog Moon||Alewive||Big Leaf Time|
|June||Berries are Good||Summer Starting||Camas Ripe||Moon Leaves Come Out||Summer||Ripening Time|
|July||Chock-cherries are Black||Summer Starting||Mid Summer||Ducks Begin to Molt||Ripening||Much Ripening|
|August||Ripening||Hot||End of Summer||Young Ducks Begin to Fly||Feather Shedding||Freshness Time|
|September||Brown Leaves||Fall||After Harvest||Snow Goose Moon||Autumn||Much Freshness|
|October||Wind Shakes off Leaves||Rutting||Start Getting Sagittair Roots||Birds Fly South Moon||Harvest||Poverty|
|November||Winter Begins||Cold||Inside for Winter||Rivers begin to Freeze Moon||Freezing||Much Poverty|
|December||Deer Shed Antlers||Winter||Not Bad Weather||Young Fellow Spreads the Brush||Frost Fish||Cold|
|Month||Shawnee Nations||Hopi Nations||Comanche Nations||Zuni Nations||Potawatomi Nations||Apache Nations|
|January||Severe||Life at its Height||Year Moon||Limbs Broken by Snow||Bear Moon||Time of Flying Ants|
|February||Crow||Purification and Renewal||Sleet Moon||No Snow in Trails||Rabbit Moon||...|
|March||Sap||Whispering Wind||Cottonball Moon||Little Sand Storm||Crane Moon||...|
|April||Half||Windbreak||New Spring Moon||Great Sand Storm||...||Moon of Big Leaves|
|May||Strawberry||Waiting||Flower Moon||...||Strawberry Moon||Season When Leaves are Green|
|June||Raspberry||Planting||Leaf Moon||Turning Moon||Turtle Moon||...|
|July||Blackberry||Homedance||Hot Moon||Limbs Broken by Fruit||Young Corn Moon||Moon of the Horse|
|August||Plum||Joyful||Summer Moon||...||Middle Moon||...|
|September||Papaw||Full Harvest||Paperman Moon||Corn is Harvested||...||...|
|October||Wilted||Long Hair||Fall Moon||Big Wind Moon||First Frost Moon||Time When Corn is Taken In|
|November||Long||Fledgling Hawk||Heading to Winter Moon||...||Turkey Moon||...|
|December||Eccentric||Respect||Evergreen Moon||Sun Travels Home to Rest||...||...|
© 2023, J McCaul - do not copy any portion
of this text without author's permission