Plains First Nations
Thousands of years ago, people recorded their history and beliefs on stone outcrops which dot the Canadian plains. This tradition continued among the Siksika, Blood and Peigan who painted their stories on tipi covers and liners, bison robes, and even pages of ledger books supplied by the Deparment of Indian Affairs Agent. Occasionally, these drawings were made by the tribe's historian and record an important event for each year. These accounts, called winter counts, are historical textbooks. More frequently, however, pictographs recorded stories of battles, horse raids, or some other important endeavours.
These stories are recorded in two ways. On the one hand, the recorder painted stories he had heard recounted by warriors. These paintings are strictly historical documentation. In other cases, the men painted accounts of their own feats as they retold stories about their lives. With each telling, the man would recall the Power that helped him in a particular circumstance and ask that all who heard his story be blessed similarly by the Power.
The bison hide pictograph in Warriors: A Journey Through Five Centuries, is a historical document. He Dog (Percy Creighton) recorded the activities of several renowned Blood leaders. Although He Dog compiled this work in the early 20th century, the people of whom he "wrote" all lived a century before.
A larger jpeg version (86 k) of this image is also available.
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