Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.
Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:
- Define the winter count and its role in Native American societies
- Discuss different means by which history is constructed/remembered
- Critically explore the significance of the loss of cultural knowledge as a result of colonialism
Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, attending to such features as the date and origin of the information.
Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
- Copies of Native American Winter Counts: Definition, History & Symbols and lesson quiz
- Image of a Lakota winter count
- Paper (paper plates, cardboard, crate paper are also viable alternatives)
- Colored pencils or basic paints
- Start class by showing students an image of a Lakota winter count, but don't tell them what it is. Ask them to describe its physical and artistic traits, including the kinds of images and orientation of images. Ask them to guess what this might be.
- Distribute copies of the lesson, Native American Winter Counts: Definition, History & Symbols.
- You will read this lesson as a class. Ask one student to read aloud at a time and switch every paragraph.
- Using this method, read the sections ''Native American Calendars'' and ''Keeping the Winter Count.''
- Show students the image of the Lakota winter count again and talk about this in the context of the information you just read.
- Now that we know what the Lakota winter count is, how does it change the way you see this image?
- If you live in a society that records its history this way, why is this object important? Why is important to remember history?
- How does this way of recording history differ from what we're used to?
- Continue reading the lesson as a class and complete the remaining sections. Discuss this information.
- How do you reconstruct a calendar like this if the original record-keepers die without passing on their knowledge?
- How does this help us to understand the legacies of American expansion and colonization of the West? What impact did that have on how many Native American nations were able to maintain their history?
- What would happen to us if we lost all our history books? What would happen to our identity?
- You may test student understanding with the lesson quiz.
Winter Count Activity
- Inform students that winter counts were based around the idea that every year could be represented in the form of a single image, symbolizing the most significant event of that year. Talk about this.
- How do you think societies chose one event to represent an entire year?
- Tell students that events that define a year needed to be both memorable and significant in the history/development of that society.
- Under that logic, students are going to create winter counts for their own lives.
- First, students will spend 5-10 minutes of reflection writing, during which time they jot down any/all significant memories and events from each year of their life, thinking about what these events meant to them and their personal development.
- Next, students will select the most significant event from each year and write out their justification for why this event was the one that represented the entire year.
- Finally, students will translate each event into a symbol.
- Provide paper and colored pencils, then have students create the winter count for their life so far.
Students will expand upon the activity by repeating the exercise, but this time for their entire society, not just themselves. Have students randomly select a date range (make each range roughly 10-15 years maximum). They will research this time, write down the major events of each year, select the most important one, and turn it into a symbol. They will also write a brief paper explaining the events they chose. In the next class period, have students present their winter counts for their date range.
To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account
Register to view this lesson
Unlock Your Education
See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com
Become a Study.com member and start learning now.Become a Member
Already a member? Log InBack