About Tipi's

Niitoy-yiss- Blackfoot Tipi/Teepee

Women were considered the owner of the tipi and were in charge of it's care and maintenance. Blackfoot tipis consisted of four poles and among the First Nations people were the most elegant in shape and painted decoration.

Tipi InteriorThe Blackfoot tipi had a broad band of dark color painted around the base to represent earth, and on this a series of circles, or dusty stars. They had seasonal grouping of the tipis in a large circle.

The fireplace was made in the center of the tepee, with an outlet for smoke at the top. The tent cover had flaps to which two poles were attached outside the general framework to form a closable doorway. The entrance to the tipi faced east with the place of honor in the rear.

Ceremonial objects were kept in the rear also, along with the bedding, backrests, rawhide containers, and utensils such as wooden dishes, horn spoons, weapons, and implements. When the tribe traveled, the tipiwas collapsed and carried on a horse. However, before the introduction of the horse, the tipi was smaller with lighter poles, and covered with bark or mats.

Tipis were always pitched with the door facing east to allow morning prayers to travel toward the rising sun.

Moving a Tipi

Travois: A system of transportation made from two or more long poles tied together to make an A-shaped frame with a carrying basket in the middle, similar to a sled. This significantly improved the method of transporting tipis and other personal items from place to place.

Dogs were used as draft animals to pull the travois before the introduction of the horse in the 1700s.

Tipi Designs

Tipis designs are not merely decorative. The Blackfoot believed that spirit beings gave these images to people in their dreams so that harmony and long life would come to those inside.

The designs connect us with the Spirit Beings in the world around us. These painted tipis are another of our Sacred Bundles. The right to paint a design is a priviled and was transferred from one person to another in a formal, public ritual. Not all of our tipis are painted.

Leo Youngman Sr- Design Gerald Sitting Eagle Ed Calf Robe Tipi Design

What to paint on the tipi were given to us by Papai-tapiksi, the Dream Beings. Each painted tipi has a ceremony for a specific purpose.

The tipi is also painted in sections:

The painted area around the bottom of the tipi cover is referred to as the Bottom Skirt. Bottom skirt designs utilized motifs that symbolized the earth's surface. This paid spiritual tribute to the importance of Mother Earth as the source of all physical life.

Conversely, the painted tops of tipis represented the upper limit of the physical world and therefore symbolized Father Sky. All human events were contained between these two boundaries - Mother Earth below and Father Sky above.

Thus the events of humans, animals, birds, etc. were depicted around the sides or middle of the tipi between these upper and lower boundaries.

mark Wolfleg Sr- Tipi Design Aurthur Ayoungman- Tipi Design Emily Duck Chief- Tipi Design




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