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May 2005

Lakota Winter Counts
Native American artifacts "counted" time by picturing a key event each year.
Grade Level: Pre-K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12

This online exhibit features the Lakota Winter Counts from the Smithsonian's National Anthropological Archives and National Museum of the American Indian as well as other general information about the culture and history of the Lakota.
This interactive site is user friendly and easily navigated. It can be viewed in Flash for high bandwidth or in HTML for low bandwidth users. There is a top navigation bar for both versions and a search tool is available. In the Flash version, the winter counts are shown on a timeline and users can click on individual pictures to bring up more information.

“Winter counts are histories or calendars in which events are recorded by pictures, with one picture for each year.” This site features the Lakota Winter Counts as a frame for learning about the culture and history of this tribe of Native Americans that lived in the northern plains. An audio glossary provides pronunciation of the Lakota terms. There are sections of the site that explain what the winter counts are, who the Lakota are, and video interviews of six Lakota men and women who have connections to the tradition of keeping the winter counts accompanied by photographs provided by the speakers. The teachers’ guide can be downloaded and printed in its entirety or separately by chapter. It includes relevant background information, visual material, topic suggestions, sample lesson plans and resource lists, instructions on navigating the Lakota winter count online exhibit and a glossary for anthropological terms and Lakota words.


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