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Field Division of Education
The Blackfoot
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CHRONOLOGICAL RECKONING


Time of the day was noted by the sun; of the night by the position of "Seven Stars", Ursa major. The year was reckoned on a basis of two halves, within which moons were, counted, some claiming (probably according to the ceremonial number seven) a total of fourteen moons. Some claimed twenty-six days, others thirty days to a moon. Winter began about October. The names of successive moons were largely a matter of individual preference. The medicine men showing the most interest in such matters. One man, for instance, gave the following:

Winter Moons

1. Beginning winter moon
2. Wind Moon
3. Cold Moon
4. Two-big Sunday moon
(Xmas holiday-our-calendar)
5. Changeable Moon
6. Uncertain Moon
7. Geese Moon

Summer Moons

Beginning summer moon
Frog Moon
Thunder Moon
Big-Sunday Moon
(4th of July-our calendar)
Berry Moon
Chokecherry Moon

Other people used other names. Some used sticks to keep track of time. (Wissler, 1911:44-46) This system is slightly less advanced then that of the Southwestern Tribes who used a true solsticial system, and much less advanced than the Middle American Peoples who used solar, lunar, and other counts, knowing the exact length of the year. The passage of years was generally remembered by an outstanding event, although the event remembered was a matter of individual interest. (Wissler, 1911:45-50.)



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