Teepee Tepee Tipi ~ By Perry Estelle

Well! It is beautiful. It is inspirational. It is mystical. It is enchanting. It is practical and simple in design.

But what good is the full tipi experience to the students?

How will a Tipi indulge students in a visionary way and make them think about their dreams and goals?

Will students benefit from a ‘back to nature’ experience that will fill them with wonder and joy?

One pupil described to me that being inside a Tipi seemed to ‘throw a switch in my head.’ That, ‘the peace I felt inside one, seemed to take all my fears and worries away for a while… and I could have stayed forever’.

The Tipi is the quintessential message to students of what it means to be a true ‘eco-warrior’. The Plains Natives of centuries ago like the Lakota, Apache and Blackfoot are prime examples of how we should all respect the environment. A far cry from the Hollywood depiction of bloodthirsty savages they were instead great craftsmen and artists, farmers and above all respectful their environment.

Unlike the so-called white settler who almost wiped the Buffalo from their lands when only the Apache hunted simply to eat. They even named themselves after beasts that roamed the plains or flew in the sky and worshipped them as Gods.

They blessed their Earth, Sky and the Sun with dancing and ritual. They were great family lovers and had a strong sense of community based on wisdom and respect for one another.

The Natives of that vast continent have much that can teach our children about respect and generosity.

Our experience has shown us clearly that the Tipi Experience has calming and enlightening benefits for students and teachers. All are bewitched and want to hear just one more story or to digest just one more tidbit of information. Everyone takes home a head filled with memories that they will remember until they too are parents.

Look at two more of our own classroom responses…

“Spending time in a tipi is just stunning. It’s big, comfy, spacious, and recalls feelings of unconstrained freedom, warmth, adventure and delight. It reminds me of valuable time spent with my friends.”
Darek Szybka

“When I stepped into the tipi, I felt as if I was stepping into my own house. It’s because of its unique atmosphere. I felt as a native Indian. It was incredible to watch the sun rays coming though the hole inside during the day, and possibility to watch glittering sky in the night.”
Wojtek Jaszczur, 13 year old

and an observation from a facilitator…

“In the tipi lesson, I tried to show student teachers and elementary students a different way of looking at the world. Study of other cultures is usually relegated to social studies. Natural science is not about diverse cultures, but it is about how people view the physical world. In science, we can question the assumption that all people look at the world in the same way. Different peoples have constructed different sciences. Multicultural science suggests that our understanding of the world may be illuminated if we are willing to admit more than one truth.”

The Apaches were nomadic hunter-gatherers – hunting of wild game and gathering of cactus fruits and other wild plant foods. . They chased any wild game located within their territory, especially deer and rabbits. When necessary, they lived off the land by gathering wild berries, roots, cactus fruit and seeds of the mesquite tree. They planted some corn, beans, and squash as crops. They were extremely hardy prior to the arrival of European diseases, and could live practically naked in zero temperature.

Hunting is a part of daily life – for food, clothing, shelter, blankets. Apache hunted deer, wild turkeys, rabbits, buffalo, bears, mountain lions. There was no fishing. Eagles were hunted for their feathers.

They exchanged buffalo hides, tallow and meat, bones that could be worked into needles and scrapers for hides, and salt from the desert with the Pueblos for pottery, cotton, blankets, turquoise, corn and other goods. But at times they simply saw what they wanted and took it. They became known among the Pueblo villages by another name, Apachu, “the enemy”.

We have found over recent years that more and more green thinking individuals, young and old yearn for the Tipi experience. It  grows in popularity for reasons best known to itself.

We take the view that peoples attitude towards a more eco-friendly leisure pursuit is evolving in a positive way.

Folks as a whole have gravitated towards a leisure lifestyle that works in harmony with the environment to reduce carbon footprints.

Our generation appears more resolute and have taken some sensible lessons from our ancient predecessors.

Not wasting resources.

Tipis and the Native North American way nourish this new-age thinking because of the respect the first indigenous tribes had for their homeland the species within it and its life sustaining qualities.

Fact“72% of our hire customers are under the age of 25 years!
That means Tipis appeal to a younger generation more than ever before.!”



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