This page contains an exhibition of Lakota winter counts contained in the Smithsonian collection.
Go to What Are Winter Counts page The Winter Counts Who are the Lakota? Links to information about the social structures of the Lakota people, circa mid-19th century. Links to information about the environment of the plains that the Lakota inhabited druing the times these counts were kept. Links to a page contining three subpages containing additional resouces. A downloadable teachers' guide, a bibliography and a page containing additional information sources including links to other online resources.
American Horse Winter Count, 1775-1878, 10-1/2" x 7-1/2" (27 x 19 cm)

Image of one page from the sketchbook showing 10 pictographs.

NAA Ms. 2372 (08746923 thru 08746933)

This is a copy made by American Horse of a winter count that he kept on a piece of cloth. He drew it in a sketchbook in 1879 at the request of William H. Corbusier, an Army surgeon. (The Cloud Shield winter count is in the same book.) Corbusier sent it to the Smithsonian together with an explanation of the years provided by the keeper. American Horse said that the winter count had been kept in his family for generations, passed down from his grandfather, to his father, to him.

American Horse was a noted Oglala chief living on the Pine Ridge Reservation when he made this version of his winter count. He was born in the year they stole many horses from the Flatheads, or 1840-41. His death is marked in the No Ears calendar for the year 1908-09.

   
American Horse Winter Count, 1775-1811, 16-1/2" x 15" (42 x 39 cm)

Image of 36 pictographs drawn on fabric.

NAA Ms. 2372 (08634000)

This is a copy of the American Horse winter count that may have been made at the Smithsonian by tracing the figures from the winter count he had made in a book.

   
Battiste Good Winter Count, 900-1700 and 1700-1879, 10-1/2" x 7-1/2" (27 x 19 cm)

Image of one page from the Battiste Good sketchbook showing 31 pictographs.

NAA Ms. 2372 (08746801 thru 08746819b)

This is a copy made by Battiste Good of a winter count that he kept on a piece of cloth. He drew it in a sketchbook in 1880 at the request of William H. Corbusier, an Army surgeon, who sent it to the Smithsonian together with an explanation of the years provided by the keeper.

Battiste Good's Lakota name was Wapostangi, or Brown Hat. He was born in the year the star passed by with a loud noise, or 1821-22. He was a Brule living on the Rosebud Reservation in the 1880s.

This winter count is unusual because it includes a series of entries that cover periods of seventy years and extend back to the time when the Lakota received the White Buffalo Calf Pipe, a sacred object still maintained by the tribe, which Good calculated to have occurred in 900 A.D. Battiste Good and his son High Hawk are the only winter count keepers who marked periods longer than a single year.

   
Cloud Shield Winter Count, 1777-1878, 10-1/2" x 7-1/2" (27 x 19 cm)

Image of one page from the Cloud Shield sketchbook showing four pictographs.

NAA Ms. 2372 (08746901 thru 08746922)

This is a copy made by Cloud Shield of a winter count that he kept on a piece of cloth. He drew it in a sketchbook in 1879 at the request of William H. Corbusier, an Army surgeon. (The American Horse winter count is in the same book.) Corbusier sent it to the Smithsonian together with an explanation of the years provided by the keeper.

Cloud Shield was an Oglala living on the Pine Ridge Reservation when he made this version of his winter count. He served as a lieutenant in the Indian Police and was a close associate of Chief Red Cloud.

   
The Flame Winter Count, 1786-1876, 35" x 35-1/2" (89 x 90 cm)

Image of entire Flame winter count. Pictogrphs spanning 90 years drawn on muslin.

NAA Ms. 2372 (08633800)

This winter count on muslin is a copy made by Lt. Hugh T. Reed from the original kept by The Flame. The Flame also provided an interpretation of the years.

The Flame's name in Lakota was Boide, which can also be translated as The Blaze. His father was a Sans Arc, but he lived most of his life with the Two Kettle band.

   
The Flame Winter Count, 1786-1876, 35" x 35-1/2" (89 x 90 cm)

Image another version of entire Flame winter count. Pictogrphs spanning 90 years drawn on muslin.

NMAI 24/4039

The museum's records indicate that this count on muslin is a copy made by Septima V. Koehler around 1892. It is not known what source she copied, but it contains the same entries as the copy of The Flame winter count made by Lt. Reed. Ms. Koehler and her sister were missionaries and teachers on the Standing Rock Reservation and in nearby communities between 1892 and 1912.

   
Lone Dog Winter Count, 1800-1870, 106" x 77" (270 x 196 cm)

Image of winter count, pictographs painted in spiral pattern on buffalo hide.

NMAI 1/617

This count painted on a buffalo hide was received by the museum in 1906 without any information about who made it or where. The explanations of the entries in this web exhibit are from information published by Garrick Mallery in 1893. This information came to Mallery from Lt. Hugh Reed, who got it from Basil Clement, an interpreter at Ft. Sully, Dakota Territory, who had gotten the explanations from the original keeper, Lone Dog. The count itself appears to be a direct copy of the version published by Mallery in 1877 and again in 1893.

Lone Dog was described by Clement a Yanktonai who was living in Montana Territory in the 1860s, near where the Fort Peck reservation was later established. There probably were several men with the same name as widely scattered sources refer to a Lone Dog among various bands of the Lakota.

   
Lone Dog Winter Count, 1800-1870

Image of Lone Dog winter count painted on cloth. Pictographs in spiral pattern

NAA 3524 A and 3524C

This version of Lone Dog's winter count was drawn on cloth by Lt. Hugh T. Reed in 1876. It is a copy of a winter count on buffalo hide that was owned by Basil Clement, an interpreter at Fort Sully, Dakota Territory. Clement's hide was also a copy, made from a count that was kept by Lone Dog, a Yanktonai whom he had known in the 1860s.

This photograph of the painted cloth version was made when Reed loaned it to the Smithsonian for study. For publication, Mallery reconstructed what the original count on buffalo hide might have looked like.

Image fo plate from book. Descroption in next cell.

NAA Ms. 2372 (08746801 thru 08746819b)

This plate from Mallery's book does not show a real object. It is an artist's recreation, made by projecting a picture of Reed's cloth count onto a painting of a buffalo hide.

   
Lone Dog Winter Count, 1800-1870, 42-1/2" x 31" (108 x 79.5 cm)

Image of Lone Dog winter count. Pictographs painted in spiral pattern in deer hide.

NMAI 23/246

This version of the Lone Dog count painted on deer hide was acquired by the museum in 1960 without any information on who made it or when. The entries are similar to the Lone Dog count as published by Mallery.

   
Lone Dog Winter Count, 1800-1870, 75" x 68" (190 x 173 cm)

Image of wintercount, pictogrphs painted in spiral pattern on cowhide.

NMAI 21/8701

This version of the Lone Dog count painted on cow hide was acquired by the museum in 1952 from an antique dealer without any information on who made it or when. The entries are similar to the Lone Dog count as published by Mallery.

   
Long Soldier Winter Count, 1798-1902, 69" x 34.5" (176 x 88 cm)

Image of long soldier winter count. Picotgrphs painted in spiral pattern on large muslin cloth.

NMAI 11/6720; text: NMAI OC 142.23

It is not known who drew this winter count on muslin cloth, but Long Soldier provided an interpretation of the years. The count and accompanying information came to the museum in 1923 from Mrs. M.K. Squires, who lived at Fort Yates, North Dakota, on the Standing Rock Reservation.

Long Soldier was a Hunkpapa chief who signed the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty and settled on the Standing Rock Reservation.

   
Rosebud Winter Count, 1752-1888, 69-1/2" x 35" (176 x 89 cm)

Image of Rosebud winter count. Pictographs painted on large cloth.

NAA Ms. 2001-10

This winter count on cloth came to the museum without any information on who made it or where. It has been named the Rosebud winter count because it belonged to the family of John Anderson, a photographer who worked on the Rosebud Reservation between 1880 and 1935.

   
The Swan Winter Count, 1800-1870, 38" x 21" (97 x 53 cm)

Image of Swan winter count, pictographs painted in spiral pattern, on transcluscent paper.

NAA Ms. 2372 (08633900)

This version of The Swan's winter count is a tracing made from a muslin copy, which was itself a copy of the original count painted on hide. The muslin copy was made in 1870 by Dr. Washington West, an assistant Army surgeon, from The Swan's original hide. This tracing was made at the museum when the muslin was loaned for study. It is accompanied by an explanation provided by the keeper.

The Swan was a Mniconjou, who probably resided on the Cheyenne River Reservation where Dr. West was stationed.