Pat Shingleton for Friday, Aug. 2, 2013

The term “winter count” comes from the Lakota or Sioux tribe’s terms “waniyetu,” referring to the season of winter and “wowapi,” referring to anything noted, counted or read. The Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society archived that as early as the 17th century, Plains Indian groups kept pictographic calendrical winter counts. It is assumed during the harsh winters the tribes were clustered inside, away from the elements, to recollect important events, such as battles with other groups, deaths of leaders and famines occurring during the previous seasons. Some of the winter counts depicted famines and important natural occasions such as extreme climate conditions. Other tribes that maintained winter counts were the Blackfeet, Kiowa and Mandan tribes. Winter counts began with the first snowfall following autumn. Fastcast: Another scorcher.