3 *The Cover PictureRecorded by Sicangu winter count keeper Battiste Good or Wapostan Gi (Brown Hat) who depicted a chief and his wife engulfed in flamesThe picture tells of the time in 1762, when a lead band called Cokatowela (blue in the middle camp) was encamped for the night after a long trek from southern MinnesotaThey were awakened by a prairie fire that swept through the village fanned by a high windMany tipis were destroyed and some lost their lives, the remaining jumped into a lake and stream to save themselvesNext morning when they examined themselves, they were all burnt about the thighs, hence they were called Sicangu (burnt thighs) or (Brule)4/1/2017*A colored rendition of Battiste Good’s winter count
4 The Winter CountTranslated as Waniyetu (winter) Wowapi (draw or write) drawing or transcribed accountsCan be translated as Waniyetu Yawapi (reading) reading the accountsAlso called picture graph writingsCalled winter counts because winter is the leisure time when important events for the winter calendar year are collected and one is selected and drawn4/1/2017
5 Function of Winter Count Display war deeds of individuals and groupsCommunication and education for the tiospaye members, especially the youthPromote the identity of a group or tiospaye as distinguished from other groupsIt’s primary function is to keep track of events for use as a measuring device for determining one’s age4/1/2017
6 Background of Winter Counts The origins of winter counts are found on many rock carvings, peckings and paintings in many hills, mountains, canyons and caves throughout the great plains. Most of these rock carvings and paintings reflected on the lifestyles of people who traveled from one location to another in search of sustenance and peace. The carved and painted symbols indicated that religious beliefs combined with a successful hunts and war were of utmost importance to the people who depended on nature and spiritual powers to sustain them.4/1/2017
7 Rock Painting: Forerunning of the Winter Count 4/1/2017Grizzly Bear Panel, Guernsey Wyoming
8 Incised Rock Panel Depiction of a figure falling from the sky It is thought to be Tonwin Falling, Star Boys mother the culture hero of the LakotaThe figure could be pregnant with Star Boy who fell from the skyLocated in the southern Black HillsSlide 7 and 8 Images courtesy of SDAS Journel4/1/2017
9 Pecked Rock Panel Located at Whoopup Canyon, Wyoming Rock panel depicts an ancient life renewal ceremonySimilar to the Elk Dreamer Society drawings4/1/2017
10 Painted ShirtEarliest form of a shirt with war deeds painted on buckskin with hair fringesA Lakota war leader’s shirtPictograph drawings are similar to winter counts and paintings on rocksPhoto courtesy of Taylor Archives4/1/2017
11 The Winter CountWinter counts are picture writings that account for some important deed, action and event that happened in one year-a series of events made up the winter countA winter count is called a winter count because one important event per winter calendar year was selected to be added as an entryA winter count is usually drawn on a medium made up of a buffalo hide, a muslin, canvas, blank ledger books, cow hides or deer hidesA man of importance, usually a leader, spiritual person, or a dexterous man designated by the tribe made the winter counts and was called a winter count keeper (Waniyetu Wowapi Gluha)4/1/2017
12 continuedWhen a keeper passed away or retired, his works would pass on to a descendant and if there were no descendants than the tribe would designate a qualified keeperWhen a winter count keeper passed away, he was buried with his work, since his designated heir would have started his own helped by his mentor-(most buffalo hide counts span was short)Originally winter counts were drawn on buffalo hides and completed in a spiral format however, the depletion of the buffalo and the technological- educational influence of the non Indian caused the counts to be done in a square format (sometimes they were written without symbols or picture writing)4/1/2017
13 Winter Count FormatsSpiralSerpentineLinearOval or Square4/1/2017
14 Winter Count Material Cow Hide Buffalo Hide Other Linen Canvas Calico Sheep-skinCourtesy of NMAICourtesy of NAA, Smithsonian InstituteDeer HideMuslinLedger or PaperCourtesy of NMAICourtesy of NAA, Smithsonian Institute4/1/2017
15 Preparation of HidesThe hides were staked out and were scraped to clear the stubble and flesh on one sideThe next step was to boil the brains of a buffalo and apply them the hide, then it was softened by working it moreThe last step was to smoke it to make it pliable and waterproof-last step an optionPhoto image courtesy of NAA Smithsonian InstitutionWomen hard at work tanning, this work requires team work, skill, experience and patience4/1/2017
16 Winter Count Buffalo Hides The completed buffalo hides can used for three major purposes-to make a tipi, to make outer clothing or bedding wear and to use it for a winter countMany hides were secured during the big communal hunt or individual hunt to secure a hide for a winter countFinished product ready for painting the winter count events4/1/2017
17 Starting Time of Winter Counts The time was ripe for the initiating a winter count when winter forced everyone inside the tipiThis was in the month of Wanicokan Wi (-mid winter moon), one of the coldest of winter timeThe Lakota calendar consists of 13 months or moons that make up a year and the Lakota new year began when the calving season started in Magasica wi (the moon of the duck-this is the time when the ducks return in spring)4/1/2017
18 Lakota Lunar CalendarBloketucoka Wi (Wiocokanyan Wi)Wipazukan Waste Wi45Canwahpe Ton WiKanta Sa Wi6313 new moons make up a year- starting with spring (Maga Agli Wi), the new yearCanwahpe Nableca WiCanwahpe Gi Wi72Canwahpe Kasna Wi8Maga Agli Wi1Waniyetu WiTaninsni Wi139WetuWinter count starts hereBloketu1210Wiotehika Wi11PtanyetuseasonsWicat’a WiWanicoka Wi (Wiocokanyan Wi)Waniyetu
19 Traditional Lakota Months A new moon or a black moon is called Wit’e (moon dies)Wit’e also designates a monthThe Lakota observe 13 new moons that make up a yearThere are 28 days+ that complete the phase of a new moonThere are day that complete a Lakota year13 New Moons make up one year4/1/2017
20 Method of Time Recording Time keeper cuts 13 slashes on a shaft to indicate how many times a new moon appeared per yearEach shaft represented one yearThe first slash was the new year moon when calving time occurred or when the ground thawedA more elaborate record can have all of the 28 notches representing the days following each new moon slash.This method is eff- icient because it is calibrated with changes every year.4/1/2017
21 Selection of EventsThe calendar of events started from the new year (the vernal equinox) to the winter time for one given yearSometimes a group of elders were invited to meet on selecting one important event of the calendar year of eventsEvents were unusual happenings, spiritual events, brave deeds, weather impacts, tribal battles, disease, drowning of important people or group of people and other events that were significant4/1/2017
22 Tools and PaintsAnimal hair, particularly manes and tails from horses, was used to make the brushes and sometimes small animal bones shaped into a brush made a good brush to paintPaints were taken from berries that were crushed until the juices were extracted, dried and stored in containersEarth paint was taken from the different colored clays that were gatheredLater on ink, lead pencils, crayons and oil paints were supplied by the non Indians4/1/2017
23 Media or Materials to Create Bleached or unbleached muslin was usedCloth or woven materialLinenCalicoCanvas-all of the above were part of articles given as stipulated by treaty agreementsBuffalo hide-depleted during the early res. timesCow hide-beef on hoof that was issued by U.S.Deer-obtained through huntingSheepskin-once abundant but disappearedPaper–legal and 8 1/2 by 11-issued by day schoolsNotebooks and ledgers-surplus given outDew cloth-issued or bought at stores4/1/2017
24 Famine and Disease Symbols measlesDied of childbirthDied of childbirth complicated by intestinal disorderDied of crampsSwanAmerican HCloud SAmerican HMeasles or smallpox victimBattiste GWhooping coughStarved to deathBattiste GAmerican HStarved to deathVictim of meat poisoningBattiste GSmallpox victimDied of meat poisoningCloud SAmerican HBattiste G4/1/2017Swan
26 Astronomy Symbols Meteor Showers Large ball of fire hissing noise Comet came by with loud noiseRoaring star fellMany stars fellFlameSwanSwanCloud S.FlameStar/comet passed by with big bangSwanEclipse of sunStorm of StarsIt rained starsLeonid meteor showers in 1833Battiste G.Encke Comet passed near the earth in 1822, a periodic cometBattiste G.Cloud S.4/1/2017
27 Horse Raids Dog stole 70 Horses Drags steals horses Brings lots of H. Red Cloud CensusRed Cloud CensusCloud SCrows steal 200 horses from the MnikowojuRed Cloud CensusRuns off a horseStole horses and escaped through a torn tipiSwanOglala steals 200 horses from Flat Head tribeCloud SAmerican HRed Cloud Census4/1/2017
28 War and Peace Lakota and Omaha make peace Omaha made peace with Lakota to get back prisoners from the LakotaLakotas at war with CheyennesChief Stiff Leg killed but his Brule killed 100 PawneeCloud SAmerican HCloud S,Crow and Lakota battle and run out of arrows-resort to throwing dirt at each otherLakotas make peace with CheyenneBattiste GLakotas make peace with the PawneesLakotas make peace with the CrowsSwanLakota make peace with Gros VentreCloud SAmerican HAmerican H4/1/2017Cloud S
29 The Prototype Count-Spiral Image courtesy of NMAI, Smithsonian InstitutionLt. Hugh Reed’s copy of Lone Dog’s Winter Count (1876)
38 Rosebud Winter Count (Sicangu) Square-Spiral (Muslin) Image courtesy of NAA, Smithsonian InstitutionThe Rosebud Winter Count is made up of different winter counts that were pieced together from at least two winter counts or more3838
40 Text of Cycle 1The interpretation of Cycle 1 entails the following subjects. 13 tipis encircling: a pipe emitting blue smoke; a white buffalo with udders spilling out blue milk; four colored directions with the north on the left of the circle and the south on the right side of the tipi circle and the east on top of the circle and the west at the bottom. Moreover, there are two men, one sitting in the circle in the flex position to hold a pipe and one standing outside of the tipi circle holding a pipe. Finally, there are two plants, elm and yucca drawn on top of the tipi circle.The 13 tipis represent one year, the pipe’s smoke is blue representing the sky and prayers, the blue milk from the white calf woman represents milk spilled across the sky (colored blue)-the milky way, the man outside the circle is thirty years old representing a short generation-the time frame for the first 30 year old cycle. The elm root is used for kindle and yucca to make friction to fire the kindle.The absence of the horse, the use of rubbing yucca stalks together to produce a spark thus igniting the rotten elm root to make fire and 800 year cycle illustrates that this cycle is ancient.
41 Text-Cycle 1: the Legend of the Pipe Good’s version of the coming of the pipe is contained in his cycles, he did give his interpretations to the ethnographers of his time. This is his version.A beautiful woman appeared with what seemed to be snakes hanging down her legs but were actually braids of grass. Two men approached her and one of them wanted to catch her for a wife but the other disagreed because he thought she was wakan. The heavenly woman responded and this encounter with the two men abruptly came to an end. She then told the people she came from heaven to teach them how to live and what their future will hold. She told them that she is the white buffalo cow woman and she is giving this pipe to the people to always keep. She said “I will spill my milk all over the world so that the people may live.” She then gave them a package of four grains of corn with variegated colors of white, black, yellow and red. The interpretation of the giving of milk and corn grains is to make a significant connection between the two. The grains falling from her udders are milk or food for the people. They must learn to grow corn that provides spiritual and healthy food for themselves. Moreover, there is a spiritual connection above where the heavenly woman threw milk across sky that becomes the Milky Way and the corn grains represent the Pleiades. In Lakota astronomy the Milky Way is the road of the spirits where the amulet constellations, turtle and salamander, on their sojourn across the sky pass through the Milky Way for spiritual sustenance and most tribes, as do the Lakota, view the Pleiades as grains of corn reminding the people to grow corn with the appearance of Pleiades in spring.
43 Text of Cycle 2The entry shows fourteen tiwahe (house-holds) surrounds the buffalo, this is called Wanisapi or the buffalo hunt surround. This is how the people learned how to hunt the buffalo provided by the White Buffalo Cow Woman.The entry also shows blood trails of the buffalo, bloodied hooves running in different directions and buffalo heads placed near the kills.Good relates that a man named Sungmanitu Tanka ihanble (Wolf Dreamer) with a medicine bow and arrow in hand shoots the buffalo and the women cried out “he has killed the chief buffalo.” When a man named Wicasa Wakinyan ihanble Nanhan Wahinkpe Wakinyan K’u (Man who dreamed of thunder and recieved an arrow from the Thunder), standing opposite Wolf Dreamer with a bow and arrow heard the cries of the women, he shot a female buffalo. After this all of the men began to kill as much as needed. They then chopped off the heads of the buffalo and placed a pipe beside the head until the work of the hunt ended.
45 Text of Page 13 (above)The year two are killed while going back to the hunting ground year.The year three were killed while fishing.The year they camped near ice and cut through ice for meat.The year they killed and buried many bison meet in caches.The year the Lakota killed fifteen Pawnees.The year enemy came and killed seven Lakota.The year while hunting on snow shoes a Gros-Ventre was caught and killed by the Lakota.The year they brought back many kettles and pots.The year they brought home Omaha horses.The year they brought home Hohe horses.45
47 Text of Page 14 (above)The year war parties met and three on each side were killed.The year when four households drowned.The year the Pawnee while hunting eagles were killed by the Lakota.The year the Pawnee avenged the death of their eagle hunter by entering the tipi and killing a sleeping Lakota.The year the enemy attacked on horseback without inflicting casualties on the Sicangu.The year the enemy attacked and stabbed a boy near the tipi.The year of getting lots of papa.The year they brought back fifteen Hohe horses.The year they brought back Pawnee horses.The year they wore snowshoes because of heavy snow.47
53 Lone Dog Winter Count- Spiral on Hide An original copy on buffalo hide was done by Lone Dog who allowed Clement,a trader, to copy his version on a hide.Image courtesy of NAA, Smithsonian InstitutionClement, in turn, allowed Lt. Reed to copy his on cloth. (see Reed’s copy on slide 29).Lt. Reed’s cloth copy was superimposed on the above buffalo hide by a photographer (Smithsonian has no hide version of Lone Dog’s Winter Count in its collection).
54 Big Missouri Winter Count-Linear (Deer Hide) by Big Missouri Called Mnisose Tanka Waniyetu WowapiReproduction of one of the originals kept at the Buechel Lakota Memorial Museum, St. Francis South DakotaBeads or Sam Kills Two re-did and interpreted the account, he added on events after 1820One copy at St. Francis-Buechel Lakota Memorial MuseumImage courtesy of St. Francis Mission54
55 Big Missouri Winter Count-Linear(Hide) Image from Journey Museum at Rapid City, SD55
56 Big Missouri Winter Count-Linear(Hide) Image from Journey Museum at Rapid City, SD56Original on Muslin by Big Missouri
57 Spotted Tail Tipi Liner-(Sicangu) Images courtesy of Mary Henson Saunders from Iowa State Museum-P. Galgard collection1234654/1/2017789
58 Igmu Wakute (Shooting Cat), Jr. of the Wajaje Sicangu- 1846-1923 Indian Autograph BookIgmu WakuteIgmu Wakute (Shooting Cat), Jr. of the Wajaje SicanguShooting Cat killing Crow Indian4/1/2017Autograph book page, from Falles-Freeman,1881
59 The Winter Count in Retrospect The Lakota winter counts began to fade into history with the coming of the non Indian. They had played a major role during the pre-reservation era and like the acculturation of the Lakota, they too became acculturated. It was the technology of the wasicun that put an end to the traditional Lakota winter counts and replaced them with written words, abstract English words with no symbolism.4/1/2017
60 ContinuedToday, to most non Indians they are viewed as quaint relics of the past and to some they are exquisite works of art. To most non Indian scholars, they are retranslated, analyzed and viewed as remarkable but not real history To the Lakota they are a bridge to the past and a proud way of life that ended too soon.4/1/2017
Your consent to our cookies if you continue to use this website.