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

Winter Count: 1885–1896

1885 1885–1886: Ugly-Heart Winter

Congress was outraged when Crow Dog made restitution for the murder of Spotted Tail in the traditional Lakota way. They passed the Major Crimes Act, which gave the U.S. government jurisdiction over Indian crimes.

1886 1886–1887: Noisy-Metal Winter

The "Black Robes" established St. Francis Catholic Mission School. Just a year earlier, the Episcopalians had founded a school in what became the town of Mission. Rivalry between the Catholic mission and the "White Robes," or Episcopalians, split the Lakota.

1887 1887–1888: Dark-Giveaway Winter

A U.S agent arbitrarily withheld rations and food from the tribe as punishment for some members' noncompliance with policies. Lakota leaders stormed his office and opened the storehouse, where they had a big giveaway.

1888 1888–1889: Many-Councils Winter

The Crook Commission came to the reservation to convince the Lakota to sign a new treaty that would significantly reduce the size of their reservation. The vast majority did not sign this treaty.

1889 1889–1890: Dream-of-the-Old-Life Winter

Hardships, such as loss of land by our people, establishment of the reservation and the state of South Dakota, decreased annuities, disease, drought, and crop failure, caused the people to dream of the promises of the Ghost Dance religion. Many agents, settlers, missionaries, and Indians became afraid.

1890 1890–1891: Winter the American Soldiers Camped on the Rosebud

Army stroops stole into the Rosebud at night. Tribal members awoke to big guns pointed at them. Hundreds fled to Pine Ridge to continue the Ghost Dance, where the Seventh Cavalry massacred Big Foot and his band.

1891 1891–1892: Plenty-Horses-Giveaway Winter

Lakota and U.S. Army troops had several skirmishes following the Battle of Wounded Knee. Plenty Horses, who killed Lt. Edward W. Casey, was tried and found innocent by reason of an act of war. In gratitude, he gave away his prized possessions.

1892 1892–1893: Many-Spotted-Cow Winter

President Theodore Roosevelt vowed to reform Indian policies and provide each man, woman, and child on the Rosebud with two head of cattle.

1893 1893–1894: They-Go-Across-the-Water Winter

Colonel Charles P. Jordan, a trader on the Rosebud, enlisted Lakota people to go abroad as members of the cast of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show.

1894 1894–1895: Round-Metal Winter

Each man, woman, and child received a $30 annuity payment.

1895 1895–1896: The Boot Winter

Special Agent George Crayer was "given the boot" from the Rosebud Reservation after complaints that he seduced young women.

1896 1896–1897: Return-to-Camp Winter

Lakota people from Lower Brulé Reservation were allowed to move back to their homes on the Rosebud even though they were not tribal members.

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