Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum
Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum
|Creator||Lakota Tiyospaye (Winter Count Keeper)|
|Context||The Lakota recorded key annual events by recording them on buffalo robes. Because the Lakota did not keep written histories, these robes are rare pieces of documentary evidence showing how they responded to contact early in the eighteenth century.|
|Audience||The Lakota of current and future generations|
|Purpose||To mark key historical events|
The Lakota of the Great Plains commonly
recorded their history through winter
counts. Ordinarily placed on buffalo robes,
in a spiraling succession, these pictures
identified the most important event of the
year for an individual or a village. Some
winter counts stretched over two or three
The Columbian Exchange transformed relations between Native American groups on the Great Plains. The intersection of horses, buffalo, and firearms drew Lakota groups (such as the Santee) westward in the early 1700s, where they enjoyed great success as hunters, raiding at the expense of more sedentary and horticultural tribes like the Pawnee.
But the European presence brought devastating microbes as well as horses and guns. The first smallpox epidemic evidently arrived in the 1730s, killing great numbers of Native Americans by the 1780s. The figures reproduced belowâ€” which are drawn from several robesâ€” depict diseases and other hardships that afflicted the Lakota after contact.