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Pat Shingleton: "Counting Winter"

3 years 9 months 3 weeks ago August 02, 2013 Aug 2, 2013 Friday, August 02 2013 August 02, 2013 3:00 AM in Pat Shingleton Column
By: Pat Shingleton

The term "winter count" is derived from the Lakota or Sioux tribe's terms "waniyetu," referring to the season of winter and "wowapi," referring to anything noted, counted or read. The Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society archived that as early as the seventeenth century, Plains Indian groups kept pictographic calendrical winter counts. It is assumed that during the harsh winters the tribes were clustered inside, away from the elements, to recollect important events such as battles with other groups, deaths of leaders and famines; occurring during the previous seasons. Some of the winter counts frequently depicted famines and important natural occasions such as extreme climate conditions. Other tribes that maintained winter counts were the Blackfeet, Kiowa and Mandan tribes. Winter counts began with the first snowfall following autumn.

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