Teepees

Native American Indians typically come to mind when someone mentions the word teepee.  It’s a tent style house that was formally and on occasion still used by Native American Indians and people who choose to live in simplicity and old fashion.  Although teepees look nothing like a house, they serve the same purposes by providing shelter, warmth and protection from the outside.  Despite their simple appearance, teepees are built to withstand some of the most extreme weather conditions, like rain, high winds, extreme heat and cold temperatures. 

There are four major components that meet the needs and design of all teepees.  There is a canvas or skin covering that makes up the outer part that everyone can see, an inner skin or canvas lining, a door made from the same skin or canvas materials, and ten to fifteen sapling poles that stick out of the top of the tent.  These poles are made from branches, tree trunks and other forms of rot-resistant wood.  Ropes and pegs are also major components of the teepees because they are what hold the poles together and tie the canvas to the base or ground of the tent.  The outer canvas of the teepee is traditionally colored brightly for reasons such as identification, grouping, and decoration like any modern home.  These mobile tents allowed the Indians to pack up and move quickly when it became necessary to leave their campsite for safety or survival purposes.

Although most people have moved into the modern type of residence, a few are still comfortable living in traditional teepees, and they are very common when there is a convention, powwow, or other Native American celebration in a specific area.  It is not uncommon for one to see rows and rows of teepees forming neighborhoods, much like today’s apartments or town homes.

Joseph Paige 2006

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