American Indian Tipis
*Tipi Poles Not Included
You won’t find a more authentic Sioux-style tipi unless you create one by hand. Comfortable, roomy and well-ventilated, the tipi’s design sheds the rain or snow, and it stays standing in high winds. The smoke flaps are adjustable. For optimum performance, we recommend using a liner.
A tipi (also teepee, tepee) is a conical tent originally made of animal skins or birch bark and popularized by the Native Americans of the Great Plains. Tipis are stereotypically associated with Native Americans in general, but Native Americans from places other than the Great Plains used different types of dwellings. The term wigwam is sometimes incorrectly used to refer to a dwelling of this type.
American Indian Tipis
The tipi was durable, provided warmth and comfort in winter, was dry during heavy rains, and was cool in the heat of summer. Tipis could be disassembled and packed away quickly when a tribe decided to move, and could be reconstructed quickly when the tribe settled in a new area. This portability was important to those Plains Indians who had a nomadic lifestyle.
Modern tipi covers are usually made of canvas. Contemporary users of tipis include historical reenactors, back-to-the-land devotees, and Native American families attending Powwows or Encampments who wish to preserve and pass on a part of their heritage and tradition.
The word "tipi" comes into English from the Lakota language; the word thípi consists of two elements: the verb thí, meaning "to dwell," and a pluralizing enclitic (a suffix-like ending that marks the subject of the verb as plural), pi, and means "they dwell." In Lakota, formal verbs can be used as nouns, and this is the case with thípi which in practice just means "house."
Most tepees in a village would not be painted. Those that were, were typically painted in accordance with traditional tribal designs and often featured geometric portrayals of celestial bodies and animal designs. Sometimes tipis were painted to depict personal experiences, such as war or hunting. In the case of a dream or vision quest, “ceremonies and prayers were first offered, and then the dreamer recounted his dream to the priests and wise men of the community… Those known to be skilled painters were consulted, and the new design was made to fit anonymously within the traditional framework of [the tribe’s] painted tipis.
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