The Info List - Winter Count

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Winter counts (Lakota: waníyetu wówapi or waníyetu iyáwapi) are pictorial calendars or histories in which tribal records and events were recorded by Native Americans in North America. The Blackfeet, Mandan, Kiowa, Lakota, and other Plains tribes used winter counts extensively. There are approximately one hundred winter counts in existence, but many of these are duplicates.


1 Description 2 Corroborating dates 3 Known winter counts

3.1 Oglala Lakota 3.2 Brulé Lakota 3.3 Hunkpapa Lakota 3.4 Miniconjou
Lakota 3.5 Other Lakota, and Dakota 3.6 Blackfeet 3.7 Mandan 3.8 Kiowa

4 See also 5 Notes 6 References 7 External links

Description[edit] Most winter counts have a single pictograph symbolizing each year, based on the most memorable event of that year. For Lakota people, years ran from first snow fall to first snowfall.[2] Kiowa
winter counts usually feature two marks per year – one for winter and one marking the summer Sun Dance.[3] The glyphs representing significant events would be used as a reference that could be consulted regarding the order of the years. More extensive oral histories were passed down using the winter counts as guide posts. Traditionally each band would choose a single keeper of the winter count. Until the 20th century, these keepers were always men. They would consult with tribal elders to reach a consensus for choosing a name for the year. The keeper chose his successor in recording the count, who was often a family member.[2] Until the late 19th century, winter counts were recorded on buffalo hides. When buffalo became scarce, keepers resorted to using muslin, linen, or paper.[2] The annual pictographs began on either the left or right side of the drawing surface and could be run in lines, spirals, or serpentine patterns. Corroborating dates[edit] Garrick Mallery, a Smithsonian scholar, recognized that one of those events, "The Year the Stars Fell," correlated with the Leonid meteor storm of November 1833. He used that event to correlate the Lakota winter counts with western calendars and analyze the history of the people.[2] Known winter counts[edit]

Oglala Lakota[edit]

Tradition 1: No Ears, John Colhoff, Flying Hawk, Baptiste Garnier Tradition 2: Short Man Tradition 3: White Cow Killer Tradition 4: Iron Crow, Wounded Bear Tradition 5: Red Horse Owner Tradition 6: Cloud Shield Tradition 7: American Horse Tradition 8: Breast

Brulé Lakota[edit]

Battiste Good and High Hawk Rosebud Swift Bear Swift Dog Iron Shell

Hunkpapa Lakota[edit]

Iron Dog Lone Dog Long Soldier Major Bush


Swan Thin Elk / Wata Peta (Steamboat), 1821-1877[4]

Other Lakota, and Dakota[edit]

Hardin Winter Count Mato Sapa Northern The Flame Lone Dog's winter count[5][6]


Bad Head, 1810-1883, oral count recorded[7] Bull Plume, 1794-1924, survives only as copied drawings from 1912[7] Percy Creighton, 1831-1938[8]


Butterfly, 1833-1870s[9] Foolish Woman, 1833-1870s[9]


Tohausen[10] Silver Horn, 1860-1940[9] Haba, 1828-1909[11] Settan, 1833-1892[11] Anko Seasonal, 1864-1892; and Anko Monthly, August 1889-August 1892[12] Harry Ware, 1860-1887[13] Quitone, 1825-1921[14]

See also[edit]

Ledger art Plains hide painting


^ "Pictures of Indians in the United States." The National Archives. (retrieved 4 Feb 2010) ^ a b c d Hansen, 42-45 ^ Greene and Thorton, 300 ^ Sundstrom, Linea. "The Thin Elk/Steamboat Winter Count: A Study in Lakota Pictography", Buechel Memorial Lakota Museum, 2003 (retrieved 3 May 2010) ^ McClure, Nancy. "Treasures from our West: Lone Dog's winter count". Centerofthewest.org. Originally featured in Points West (Winter 2011). Retrieved 27 June 2017.  ^ "Lone Dog Winter Count". www.smithsoniansource.org. Retrieved 27 June 2017.  ^ a b Greene and Thornton, 301 ^ Greene and Thornton, 314 ^ a b c Greene and Thornton, 302 ^ Greene and Thornton, 300 ^ a b Greene and Thornton, 304 ^ Greene and Thornton, 306 ^ Greene and Thornton, 309 ^ Greene and Thornton, 310


Greene, Candace S. and Russell Thornton, eds. The Year the Stars Fell: Lakota Winter Counts at the Smithsonian. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 2007. ISBN 0-8032-2211-4. Hansen, Emma I. Memory and Vision: Arts, Cultures, and Lives of Plains Indian People. Cody, WY: Buffalo Bill Historical Center, 2007:42-45. ISBN 0-295-98580-1.

External links[edit]

Lakota Winter Counts: An Online Exhibit by National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution (after clicking winter count site link, click on "View HTML Version" in lower right) Anderson Winter Count, articles by Tanis Thorne Waniyetu Wowapi (Winter Count) - Reliable information and interesting lesson plans. Lakota Wint