North-South-East-West: American Indians and the Natural World

Winter Count: 1876–1884

1876 1876–1877: Many-Ponies-Lost Winter

Many Lakota fought to protect their land and their homes. They named the most famous battle the Battle of the Greasy Grass. Non-Indians called it Custer's Last Stand. United States military retaliation for this battle was swift.

1877 1877–1878: Many-Trails Winter

Spotted Tail was made head chief of the Lakota, and he negotiated for the safe return of the "hostile" camps to the reservation. Congress enacted the Black Hills Act of 1877, which took this sacred land away from the Lakota.

1878 1878–1879: Red-Stone-Agency Winter

Chief Spotted Tail established the agency for the Sicang(.)u Lakota on Rosebud Creek. The U.S. government erected permanent buildings, including a house for Spotted Tail, and established the Indian police force.

1879 1879–1880: Winter the Children Went Away

Captain Richard H. Pratt enrolled Lakota children into the new Indian boarding school at Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Spotted Tail sent his own children, but removed them after only a year because he was unhappy with the system.

1880 1880–1881: Their-Arms-Were-Raised Winter

This was the last big Sun Dance before the dance was banned by the U.S. government. Many Lakota attended.

1881 1881–1882: Spotted-Tail-Killed Winter

Chief Spotted Tail was ambushed and killed by Crow Dog. His death left a large vacancy in the leadership.

1882 1882–1883: Lost-Puppy Winter

The U.S. Commissioner of Indian Affairs issued a list of Indian offenses. Dances, religious ceremonies, give-aways, and feasts, including the sharing of puppy soup, were now forbidden.

1883 1883–1884: White Thunder Winter

Chief White Thunder, a veteran of many wars, died.

1884 1884–1885: Empty-Meat-Rack Winter

No buffalo remained on the northern Plains, where vast herds once roamed. With their disappearance went any hope for the Lakota to return to their pre-reservation lifestyle.

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