Waniyetu Wowapi and HIV/AIDS

by Sheldon Raymore


In the Lakota-Sioux language, the words "Waniyetu Wowapi" translate to "Winter Count." As a form of communication, Winter Counts mark notable occurrences amongst the Sioux people as a timeline of significant events. Grouped together, the images create a Winter Count catalogue that features the traditionally etched, painted, and/or drawn images on deer, elk, antelope or buffalo hides (later on muslin fabric) that serve as what some people may call a traditional history book. Winter Count is a way of preserving information for generations to come that is being revised and reclaimed.

Working within a community of people impacted by HIV/AIDS, artist Sheldon Raymore has created a Winter Count to preserve the story of HIV/AIDS for Native Americans on Turtle Island. The moments are part of a large buffalo hide that Raymore has shown on many occasions, including at the recent 2 Spirits & HIV Conference for World Pride 2019.

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