How the native american indian people live in tipis
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Tipi Living

Traditionally people do not wear boots or shoes inside the Tipi Lodge. We sleep and sit on the floor of the Tipi and it needs to be kept clean, it is also an act of respect which is mindful of your surroundings. Much of Tipi life is carried out outside the Tipi, washing up, cooking and eating (in fine weather) and we leave plenty of space around your Tipi for playing and socialising.

Wolf Glen Tipis in Scotland they make top quality authentic Tipis (See: Links page). Covers and linings are made from heavy-duty, 12oz coated cotton tenting canvas. The poles are cut from local sustainably managed plantations, using timbers such as Norway spruce, Sitka spruce and Scots pine when available. The poles are selected, stripped and sanded to a smooth finish. The Tipis are erected following the traditional Sioux 3-pole construction. The construction of the Tipi and lining means that tipis are cosy and warm in winter and offer a cool shade in the summer. Providing the perfect Lake District camping experience.

A structure that requires a hole in the middle of the roof may not be the best shelter in times of intense rain, but there are strategies to reduce the problem. A hide or fabric ceiling can protect against dripping precipitation and reduce drafts. This ceiling, when used, typically only covers the back half of the Tipi and is slanted slightly upwards to the front, draining water to the rear and allowing smoke from the fire to vent out of the top of the Tipi. Small sticks between the lining rope and the poles can create a gap for rainwater running down the poles to reach the ground without being caught by and dripping off of the lining rope. Contemporary Tipi dwellers may tie a bucket beneath the crown, or install rubber barriers on the poles and a canvas rain catcher which drains from the crown to the outside, to collect rain dripping off the crown of the poles. A fabric rain cap has now been placed over the top of the Tipi .
Location of Tipi campsite in Cumbria
Historically these types of coverings were not used but if the British weather has necessitated in us putting them on! The Tipis are fully weather proofed, they have an internal liner, raised wooden floor, and decorative rugs, they also have a rain catcher attached to the poles at the top of the Tipi if it should rain the rain flows down the poles then collects in the rain catcher and is drained off at the back of the lining. The designs on the tipis come from Native North American Indian symbols usually of animals, dream sequences or to show the status of the owner. Sizes refer to the typical diameter of the floor space.

It’s a good feeling to be in a Tipi not least because it is circular which is an organic, healing shape. Sitting in a circle means no one place is better than any other and all are equal. Contact with the earth is fundamental to a Tipi living experience as you sit, sleep and eat in closer contact to the ground than you do in everyday life and it can be a very humbling feeling.

Nativ American Indians in a Tipi or Wigwam
When you look up in a Tipi you are drawn into the centre of the poles which reach to the air and sky.

A Tipi is a strong, weatherproof, roomy nomadic dwelling that brings us closer to nature and an outdoor living experience. And in this unbalanced world we live in we can often feel cut off from our natural intuition and emotions so even a short time spent Tipi living can help us to rebalance our lives and to restore to life what we hold most important to our well-being.

Traditionally Tipis or lodges were made of buffalo hide, sewn with heavy seams and laced at the front with wooden pins, sometimes they were covered in rush-matting. Modern day Tipis are made from heavy duty canvas. Crow Tipis were notable for their poles cut from pines in the Big Horn mountains, favourite ponies would be tethered to some Tipis.
(See: Our Tipis page)

Where Next?!:
  1. Stay in one of our Tipis - Go have a look!
  2. Make a booking »

Texture & colour

Inside of a tipi showing decorations and furniture
Personally I cannot live without colour textiles and crafts in my life and in this way I feel particularly connected to the Native American culture.

The world is a place of texture and colour, the earth gives us paints, the plants give us cloth animals give us hide and bone and birds give us feathers, all these natural products are sacred to American Indian culture and are what they use to make there spectacular ceremonial, functional and decorative craftwork.

Native American Indians would make fetishes, amulets, medicine bundles ceremonial dolls and….as they did they would sing extra power into them, so that each object would have a healing power. Each material needs an understanding of its qualities fur and feather, beads, cloth, hides, rags were all used to create ceremony.

Below is a quote from a modern day Native American craft tutor.

Each gift from your Grandmother is special and needs to be worked with its own unique way. You are part of the dance that is the creation of sacred craftwork and you are unique. What speaks to you will become part of the language you develop and use. What you make is real, your language is true for you, be true to it.

Making crafts and alternative therapies are part of the events that 4 Winds offers (See: Events page).

Beads & Beadwork

Native American jewelry beads and beadwork
Beads are ancient they can be made from glass, stone, bone metal, ceramic and in the modern age from many different types of plastic and resin. To put a bead on an object is to bring in colour, pattern and weight. Beads can turn a simple object into a work of art.

Traditionally beads were more muted and limited than those you can get today and they had evocative names such as Pony Trader Blue, North West Coast Blue, Cheyenne Pink, Greasy yellow, Chalk white and Sioux Green.

Native American bead work is probably the most sophisticated beadwork in the world. The patterns and colours of the beadwork vary depending on the tribal group.

Dream Catchers

American Indian dream catcher
Dream catchers have become very popular over the years and the story is that the web catches and filters dreams.

Good dreams are then passed down the night birds feathers to the sleeping dreamer below. The web retains bad dreams and nightmares.

How to make a dream catcher:
Make a willow twig or length of wire into a circular shape, or you can get a ready made resin hoop from your local craft shop.
Wrap a length of thin ribbon or leather around the hoop to cover it.
Tie two treads together across from each other, going round the hoop, then from the knot of those ties tie across to the next thread and you will start to build up your web. Finish off by tying all the threads in the middle with a bead. For extra decoration you can add beads to threads along the way.
Take some more lengths of ribbon or leather and add beads, shells, feathers, stones.
Hang your hoop from the top with a piece of the ribbon or leather, then from the bottom of the hoop hang your decorated lengths of ribbon or leather. These decorated length’s are for the good dreams and thoughts to pass down to the sleeper below.

You now have your completed dream catcher to give for a gift or for yourself, SWEET DREAMS!

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