“History” – Day 6 of Project Citizen

Today, we began to learn historical facts about Native American history, including the Lakota tribe’s history.

Students seemed particularly fascinated with Lakota traditions such as Winter Count also known as the “Wniyetu Wowapi”. This is when someone from the tribe, usually a male, would record one major event that happened  in that year on a buffalo hyde

After the event was decided on by the tribal elders, the event would be printed on with past events in a counter-clockwise, spiral shape.

Native Americans also used buffalo hyde as a canvas for their drawings known as “ledger drawings”. However, this tradition changed with the end of the 19th Century.

During this time, American bison began to die out as European settlers killed them to make leather.

At this time, Native Americans were on reservations already. Children on these reservations were sent to schools founded by White settlers.

While settlers were trying to forcefully assimilate Native Americans, Native Americans found new ways to keep their culture alive.

With Bison nearly extinct, they still found ways to continue to make art. Ledger drawings were drawn on books, Muslin and sheet music.

Stories were also passed down orally.

Additionally, the Lakota along with many other Native American tribes kept their original language intact, despite settlers cruel attempt to destroy their ways.

One student from the Lakota tribe wanted to also talk about the celebrations in which they are given names. According to her, these names come from their grandparents. “Phentan win” which means “fire woman” is the name her grandmother gave her.


Written by Michael G. , Matthew and Savannah

Edits by Kira

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