Playing the Stars

An adventure in dakota/ojibwe cosmology and music

A Uniquely Minnesotan Story

It all starts at bdote...

Playing the Stars is the story of a young Dakota boy named Ichante and a young Ojibwe girl named Naajwi as they explore the night sky; sharing the constellations of their nations’ cosmology, and the stories behind them. Inspired by an historical technique of intuitive Native American flute melodic composition, called “playing the trees,” wherein the treeline is used to indicate where the melody should move up or down, this book includes original tunes that follow the shapes of the constellations.

The author, a Minnesotan educator and musician, designed this book to be used in classrooms. It has some history, some vocabulary, music, art, and culture, coupled with the hands-on activity of playing the songs to create an engaging experience that will leave students curious and excited to learn about Native American culture and music.

In Class Presentation

Contact Tim to set up classroom visits, library workshops, book readings and more!

Included in the cost of the workshop is a copy of the book and a Native American flute, hand made by Charlie Mato-Toyola of Blue Bear Flutes for each student to take home!

Tim Cheesebrow, M. Ed.

Author / Musician / Educator

Tim has been an independent musician and educator for over 20 years. He holds a license in K-12 music, a Master's degree in Education from Moreland University, and Bachelor's degrees in Music Composition and Studio Art from St. John's University. His passion for music, history, art, storytelling and astronomy come together in this wonderful, whimsical work.

Right off the bat you'll probably have noticed that Tim is not Native American. So why would he write a book about these cultures? The answer is simple...he likes stories, all kinds of stories from all times and places in human history. Growing up in Minnesota, he feels a connection to these particular stories and while he is not in a cultural position of authority within Native American communities, he believes these stories should be told, and young people should be exposed to Native American culture in a positive and engaging way.