Image of horses at a watering hole.


Winona was the daughter of a chief. Her father, Great Thunder, was a leader among the Sioux. He was a rich man because he owned many horses. He was also a brave hunter.

Great Thunder's teepee was large. It was made of poles woven together at the top. Over the poles Winona's mother spread buffalo skins, which she had sewn together. On the skins, Great Thunder had painted pictures of his brave deeds.

Image of tribe traveling over the prairiesAll summer the tribe moved about over the prairies, looking for buffalo and deer. They had no gardens. Winona had meat for most of her meals. She liked it and the good broth her mother made from it.

Sometimes she had wild fruit. Her mother dried some of the wild berries and mixed them with dried meat. This was called pemmican. It made good food for the winter, when fresh meat was hard to get.

Winona loved to travel over the prairies, best of all when her father took her on his horse. The horse was called Painted Pony. He had brownImage of Great Thunder on Painted Pony. and white spots. A horse of this kind is sometimes called a piebald horse and sometimes a pinto pony.

Great Thunder did not use a saddle. He rode bareback. When he wanted Painted Pony to run very fast, he touched him on the neck or whispered into his ear. Then the horse went like the wind. He seemed to know as much as a human being. Winona loved to ride on his back.

All summer Painted Pony ate the long grass of the prairie. When fall came, Great Thunder stripped the bark from trees to make winter food for his horses. Winona liked to feed Painted Pony. She gave him cottonwood bark for his regular meals. Sometimes as a treat she gave him strips of poplar bark. He liked that very much and it kept him well and strong during the winter.

Image of Winona, Great Thunder, and Painted PonyOne morning when Winona awoke, she heard the wind whistling around the teepee.

"Whee__"Whee-ee-sh!" it screamed.

Winona sat up. She had no bed except a buffalo skin. In warm weather she spread the skin on the ground, with the furry side down, and slept on it. When the weather turned cold, she laid it with the furry side up. Then she rolled herself up in it. She was really "as snug as a bug in a rug."

This windy morning, her mother was taking down bags from the poles of the teepee.

"Wazeah, the God of storms, is screaming outside," she said. "We must make ready for winter for it will soon be here."

During the summer, Winona's mother built her fire outside of the teepee. This morning she had Image of Mother and Papoose.Image of Winona watching Mothermake it inside. It was in the center of the teepee. Above it was a hole in the top. This was to let the smoke out. Winona ran over and sat beside the fire, while she ate her breakfast.

Mother began to dress Winona's baby brother. He had not been given a name yet. Everyone called him Papoose. That is the Indian word for baby.

Mother laid a buffalo skin on the ground. On this she spread a soft white doeskin. Then from a bag she took handfuls of cattail fluff. It was as soft and white as swansdown. She spread this over the doeskin. She laid her baby down on it. Then she rolled him up, so that only his little face showed.

Winona laughed. He looked so cunning as he smiled and tried to talk.Image of Papoose hanging on pole.

"He looks just like a big cocoon, with a baby's face at the top," she said. Mother smiled. Then she wrapped a dark, furry covering around the white doeskin and put Papoose into his carrying case. This was also his cradle. She hung the case up on a pole of the teepee. Papoose looked like a doll in a white girl's Christmas stocking.

"He is safe from Wazeah now," said Mother.

Winona helped unpack the winter clothes for the rest of the family. There were warm moccasins and leggings and shirts for everyone. For Father there were some extra large moccasins. They were made of buffalo skin with the fur inside.

Image of Great Thunder.Just then Great Thunder came into the teepee. He was very tall and handsome. He wore long leggings of deerskin with fringe down the sides. They came up almost to his waist and were tied to his belt. His chest and arms were bare.

His head was shaved, except for one long lock of hair on top. This was his scalp lock. Winona knew that when he went to war, he fought bravely to keep the enemy from getting this lock. Around his head, he wore a broad band of leather, decorated with porcupine quills. He had a great bonnet of eagle feathers, to wear when he went on the warpath. But now the Indians were at peace, so the war bonnet hung in the teepee.

"I see you are getting out the winter garments," he said. "It is well".

He took off his moccasins and lined them with some loose buffalo hair. Indians did not wear Image of food scout.socks, but when he put the moccasins on again, the hair inside felt like warm woollen stockings. Over the moccasins he pulled the great fur-lined pair his wife had just unpacked.

"Why do you put on the fur moccasins?" asked Mother. "It is not very cold."

"No," Father replied, "but soon we shall have snow. The food scouts report buffalo three days' ride away, and we are going now to hunt. It will be very cold before we come home."

"It is good that the buffalo are near," said Mother. "We have some dried meat and some pemmican, but not enough for the whole winter. If you bring back meat from the hunt, we need not fear Eyah."

Winona knew that Eyah was the God of Famine. Grandmother had told her stories about him. One winter, when Grandmother was a little girl, Eyah had come to the teepees of her tribe, and everyone had been very hungry. Winona was glad that the buffalo had been found, by the food scouts. She knew that when Great Thunder and his hunters came back, they would bring plenty of meat, for all the teepees of the tribe.


Image of three buffalo

Image of WinonaWinona is this Prairie maid
Oh, you should see her ride!
She sits her Pinto pony well
And always rides astride.
She follows deer and buffalo
Across the bare Prairie.
Then sleeps at night so snug and warm
Within her own teepee.