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From the article

Picture Info

Drawing of a horse that has starved to death. It represents the fact that many horses were lost from starvation because of the deep snow during the winter of 1865-66. National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.

Source article

Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society

Published By

Dr. Dick van der Wateren

Tags

Historical Records, Weather, North America, Native Americans


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Waniyetu Wówapi: Native American Records of Weather, Climate

03.03.2011, Age: 2791 days

A new source of historical information about unusual and extreme weather from the 17th to the 19th century. These beautiful pictographic calendars are called Waniyetu wówapi or ‘winter counts’ kept by several Great Plains Indian peoples.

Abstract

Pictographic calendars called Waniyetu wówapi or ‘winter counts’ kept by several Great Plains Indian cultures (principally the Sioux or Lakota peoples) preserve a record of events important to these peoples from roughly the 17th through 19th centuries. A number of these memorable events include natural phenomena such as meteor storms, eclipses, and unusual weather and climate. Examination of a selection of the available winter count records and related interpretive writings indicates that the Lakota and other native Plains cultures recorded many instances of unusual weather or climate and associated impacts. Analysis of the winter count records in conjunction with observational and proxy climate records and other historical documentation suggests that the winter counts preserve a unique record of some of the most unusual and severe climate events of the early American period and provide valuable insight into the impacts upon people and their perceptions of such events in the ethnographically important region of the Great Plains.

Matthew D. Therrell, Makayla J. Trotter. Waniyetu Wówapi: Native American Records of Weather and Climate. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. doi: 10.1175/2011BAMS3146.1. Published online Feb 28, 2011, as a preliminary PDF of the author-produced manuscript that has been peer-reviewed and accepted for publication.


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