Total solar eclipse 2024: Why should viewers make noise during totality?

Choctaw County, Oklahoma - What should you do when the sun is blocked out by the moon on April 8? The Choctaw Nation suggests you make a lot of noise!

The Choctaw Nation suggests celebrating the 2024 total solar eclipse by making lots of noise to keep away a mischievous black squirrel named Fvni Lusa.
The Choctaw Nation suggests celebrating the 2024 total solar eclipse by making lots of noise to keep away a mischievous black squirrel named Fvni Lusa.  © The Choctaw Nation/ Loud Cloud Animation Studio

On Monday, a total solar eclipse will darken the skies over 13 states across the US, including southeast Oklahoma's Choctaw County, where the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma (CNO) is located.

The CNO is the third-largest Indian nation in the US and the second-largest Native American reservation, with over 225,000 tribal members.

Dawn Standridge, a Choctaw tribe member and a Cultural Research Associate at the Wheelock Academy Historic Site, explained in a video that organizers of the CNO's viewing events would like attendees to bring noisemakers to participate in the cultural activity.

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Making noise is a must, according to a story told by Horatio Cushman, who lived amongst the Choctaw in the 1800s.

Per the tale, the celestial phenomenon is caused by a mischievous black squirrel named Fvni Lusa, who also happens to be the tribe's mascot.

"One of the things he likes to do is eat," Standridge explained and added, "So what the Choctaws saw when the sun was starting to disappear when it was starting to get dark and stuff, and they said Fvni Lusa is eating the sun."

Lots of noise will protect the sun from the black squirrel

The Choctaws celebrated when the sun returned because they did what they needed to do: protect the sun from the black squirrel.
The Choctaws celebrated when the sun returned because they did what they needed to do: protect the sun from the black squirrel.  © The Choctaw Nation/ Loud Cloud Animation Studio

When the Choctaw women and children saw the skies darken in the 1800s, they went outside and started making "this huge amount of noise because they wanted to scare Fvni Lusa away," Standridge says.

While the women and children threw sticks and banged pots and pans, the men shot their guns at the moon.

"After the sun comes back into its full brightness, the whole thing turned into this celebration because they knew they did what they needed to do. And that was to scare Fvni Lusa away," Standridge explained.

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The path of totality in 2024 passes directly over the CNO and Choctaw County, and the tribe has organized multiple eclipse events.

Viewing at the Wheelock Academy Historic Site is sold out, but spots are still available at the Choctaw Cultural Center in Durant, per the CNO's website.

Choctaw County will experience a little more than four minutes of darkness. The eclipse will start around 12:26 PM, peak at 1:45 PM, and end at 1:50 PM.

Standridge encouraged viewers to be ready to make a racket and said with a smirk, "Making all that noise to make sure that black squirrel doesn't eat our sun."

Cover photo: The Choctaw Nation/ Loud Cloud Animation Studio

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