Monday, July 28, 2014

Lakota Sioux Winter Counts: Calendars of Prairie Pasts

Lakota Sioux Indians would record the previous year on winter counts.  These records were written on buffalo hides as the Lakota hunkered down for the winter.  The winter counts serve as witnesses to wars, famines, unique events, and even epic changes in Lakota cosmology such as the 1775-76 discovery of the Black Hills (which ironically now serves as proof against neo-myths such as the Lakota Sioux always lived in the Black Hills.  This myth is advanced in sources like Aaron Carpella's "Native American Nations: Our Own Names & Locations" map.)

The Smithsonian Institute has most of the Winter Counts available online for viewing along with annotations.  I highly recommend viewing the Winter Counts for historical reasons as well as gaining insight into how American Indians experienced the revolutionary era of encroachment.

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