The Calico winter count, 1825-1877: An ethnohistorical analysis

The purpose of this study is to analyze the effectiveness of using the Calico winter count, a 19th century Teton Lakota winter count, as a basis for reconstructing the history of the winter count-producing group. As emic history-keeping devices, winter counts are a crucial type of indigenous data set whose importance is defined through Lakota social theory, ethnohistory theory, and comparative analysis with other historical and cultural data sets. The results of these studies will reveal that winter counts, despite their peripheral utilization in Lakota historiography, are highly credible historical sources that can play central roles in the construction of tribal histories. Winter counts are able to convey a new dimension of pre-reservation life on the plains for the Lakota people. They can be used to relate the internal reality of tribal life, while providing a more complete ethnographic context for describing the tribe historically and to aid in the creation of a convincing historical narrative. This study has important implications for future historical methodology as well as a significant social value for modern Lakota people.


Wilhelm K. Meya


Tom Holm





Arizona State Museum: 

M9791 M49c


AAT 1395720

UA Library: 

E9791 1999 164
College of Social and Behavioral Sciences