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

Winter Count: 1939–1949

1939 1939–1940: The Winner's Winter

Dr. Charles Eastman, or Winner, went on his journey this year. He was a full-blood Dakota, the first Sioux medical doctor. The wounded and dying of the Battle of Wounded Knee were among his first patients.

1940 1940–1941: Shooting-Metal Winter

Many Lakota enlisted in the armed services following the bombing at Pearl Harbor.

1941 1941–1942: Again-They-Go-to-Fight Winter

More men and women from the Rosebud joined the armed forces.

1942 1942–1943: Star Boy Woman Winter

An important book—Quill and Beadwork of the Western Sioux—was published during these years. The author collected designs from Rosebud people. One was Nellie Star Boy, a gifted artist who dedicated her life to the Lakota arts.

1943 1943–1944: Tribal Land Winter

Tribal Land Enterprises was formed to resolve inheritance problems and to ensure that lands would remain under tribal ownership. Split allotments had become so small that only microfarming was possible.

1944 1944–1945: Winter of Compassion

The Bureau of Indian Affairs began a public assistance program for the needy. The National Congress of American Indians was founded as an advocate for the concerns of Indian people.

1945 1945–1946: Victory Dance Winter

Many victory dances were held for the returning Lakota war veterans.

1946 1946–1947: Many-Ears Winter

The Indian Claims Commission established a direct route for tribes to ask questions about treaty agreements.

1947 1947–1948: Many-Children Winter

The baby boom began at the Rosebud as the veterans, men and women, returned home.

1948 1948–1949: Senseless Winter

Alex Brave and his friends stopped to pick up a hitchhiker, Larry Merek. Merek pulled a gun and shot Alex six times. When asked by the police why he did it, Merek answered, "It just happened."

1949 1949–1950: Tall-Snow Winter

A terrible blizzard brought snow drifts as high as thirty feet. Many people and animals perished.

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