Welcome to the Lakota Winter Counts,  online exhibit

This online exhibit was created in response to requests from Lakota educators and community members to make primary source materials in Smithsonian collections available online for Lakota researching their cultural heritage. It is based on consultations that Candace Greene and Christina Burke held in a series of Lakota communities in 2002 as they were preparing a book called The Year the Stars Fell: Lakota Winter Counts at the Smithsonian (Greene and Thornton, eds., forthcoming University of Nebraska Press).

The winter counts are from the Smithsonian's National Anthropological Archives and National Museum of the American Indian. The commentary that accompanies the individual winter count years was provided by Lakota winter count keepers or, in the case of the Rosebud Winter Count, by Russell Thornton. For the most part, these comments and explanations have come to the Smithsonian through a series of interpreters and intermediaries whose words are faithfully presented here as primary sources. Their usage, grammar, and spelling reflect the knowledge and attitudes of the period when they were written.

Interviews with Lakota people provide another rich body of primary source material, offering contemporary perspectives on winter counts and Lakota history. The video interviews that appear in the section called Who Are the Lakota are accompanied by photographs which were often chosen or provided by the speakers themselves. These extensive interviews represent only a few of the Lakota people consulted in the course of the project. They illustrate the range of knowledge still held about winter counts and the diversity of perspectives about their meaning. In addition to these historic and contemporary primary materials, the exhibit provides general information on Lakota culture and history throughout the exhibit, as well as in the Teachers' Guide in the Learning Resources section.

National Anthropological Archives
Candace Greene — Exhibit Curator
Robert Leopold — Project Manager
Christina Burke — Research and Community Liaison
Anh-Thu Cunnion — Educational Consultant

Lakota Contributors
Steve Emery
Wilbur Flying By
By Robert Gipp
Pepper Young
Phyllis Young
Tipiziwin Young

Jerry Deerly
Wilbur Flying By
A list of photographs is available here.
Ralph Karsten
"Spring Song" from Grandfather's Gift. Atma-Sphere Music Systems, 1992.
Handbook of North American Indians, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution
Smithsonian Women's Committee
Dakota Indian Foundation
South Dakota Humanities Council
Online Exhibit Special Thanks
Ernest Amoroso, Ray Bucko, Bruce Falk, Will Greene, James Kochert, Becky Malinsky, Ann McMullen, Richard Muñiz, Marit Munson, Amy Putnam, Smithsonian Repatriation Review Committee, State Historical Society of North Dakota, Russell Thornton, and Gayle Yiotis.
Unless otherwise noted, all text and images are copyright © Smithsonian Institution. All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the principles of "fair use" under U.S. copyright law, no part of this online exhibit may be reproduced in any form, stored in a database or retrieval system, or transmitted or distributed in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution, or the copyright owner.