Thursday, November 26, 2015

They Count the Winters

Monday ~ 23 Nov

Tuesday ~ 24 Nov

Wednesday ~ 25 Nov ~ Thanksgiving Eve
The Moon When the Wind Shakes off Leaves

from The Day the World Ended at Little Bighorn:
A Lakota History

by Joseph M. Marshall III

"Another aspect of [Lakota] culture that changed to fit the new Euro - American order was our thirteen - month calendar based on the cycles of the moon. A month was twenty - six to twenty - nine days, and the name for each month was descriptive of a significant environmental event or consequence. . . .

". . . waniyetu yawapi . . . is "counting the winters" or "they count the winters." The more well - known term is winter count. A winter count was a family or community record, a combination of pictures and information committed to memory. At least one piccure was drawn by the keeper of the winter count to represent the most significant event of the year, and the keeper could vividly describe that event and the reason it was chosen as the most significant. From that he could also recall other events that occurred within that given year.

"Waniyetu is "winter," and it was used as the marker for the passage of an entire year because winter was the toughest season of the year. It was a matter of some distinction for an elder to say "Waniyetu masakowin" or "I am seventy winters," because it also meant that he or she had survived that many winters" (188 - 89).

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