Social History for Every Classroom


Social History for Every Classroom

menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

American Horse's Winter Count

American Horse (1840-1908) was an Oglala Lakota chief who participated in the Sioux Wars of the 1870s. He was also a "keeper," responsible for maintaining his band's "winter count," which had been passed down from his grandfather, to his father, to him. By 1879, American Horse was living on the Pine Ridge Reservation in present day South Dakota. At the request of a U.S. army doctor stationed at the reservation, he copied a version of the winter count, covering the years 1775 to 1878, into a notebook. The doctor, William H. Corbusier, sent the notebook (along with notes he wrote and explanations from American Horse) to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. The excerpt below shows American Horse's winter count for the years 1804-15.

Source | American Horse Winter Count, 1775-1878, 10-1/2'' x 7-1/2'' (27 x 19 cm); available at the Smithsonian Institution/National Anthropological Archives, Lakota Winter Counts: An Online Exhibit,
Creator | American Horse
Item Type | Artifact
Cite This document | American Horse, “American Horse's Winter Count ,” SHEC: Resources for Teachers, accessed December 4, 2023,

Print and Share