Saturday, May 5, 2012

# 260 - Girls Building a Tepee

Raising my daughters brought great joy to my life. Well, I guess I should mention that Deputy Dave and I raised these two blond, long-legged gals together. Since they are now in their 20's, I guess it's safe to say that we did a pretty darn good job of it.

One thing I must say that my daughters knew how to do, with great detail, is how to build a Tepee (or "Teepee" as I'd like to spell it).

Visiting the reservation - the girls are THRILLED to be
standing in a REAL Tepee. A dream come true for them.

As our daughters were growing up, we'd sporadically take them to the Indian Reservation in Livingston. We'd attend a yearly Pow-Wow here and there or just spend part of our day on the reservation.

Since my girls have Native American blood flowing through their twice great-grand-mother was full blooded...these girls have been taught a few traditions and values that definitely come from Native American culture.

However, every time we'd go to our land in Livingston, the girls would build their own Tepee. They'd search for long perfect sticks, then bind them at one end with twin and spread out the other ends for ground support. After their sticks were firmly in place, they'd drape a few sheets around the sticks with secure attachment at the top to find themselves with an awesome Tepee. There were a few times when they also built structures out of items found in nature that reminded me of Wigwams. But, the Tepee style structure always remained their favorite.

I think the girls would've hunted Buffalo, then skinned and tanned the hides to use for Tepee building, if we would've allowed it. Stefie would have shot the animals with bullseye perfection and Heather would have dissected them completely for the hides; that's how it would've worked, IF we would've allowed it.

Over the years, the girls would insist that their "perfect" Tepee sticks be taken with us on each trip. Their Tepee sticks were incredibly important to them. They worked hard to get them shaped precisely for their construction purposes and to have the right length to give the Tepee the height they desired. In fact, I think they were still building these when my oldest daughter was in high school.

They'd build their Tepee upon arrival to our land and would spend most of the day in their little shelter, even taking naps inside the Tepee. Since they were huge outdoor type of gals, this was a normal part of their life. This all started when my girls were very little because I'd actually build my girls a rudamentary Tepee on our day trips to the country, as a little "tent" to give shelter from the sun. Little did I know, this long tradition in my family would continue. It would take hold of my girls in a big way, with them feeling as if they always NEEDED a Tepee during our trip to the country.

The other day, as my niece Shaye was visiting at our house, I began to think about all of the years of watching my girls build their Teepees. I wondered what it would take to get my daughters to show Shaye how to build her own Tepee. I don't think it would take much prodding. Of course, as sisters, Heather and Stefie made a great team and could upright a Tepee in minutes...they learned how to build one so strong that it could withstand some strong bursts of wind. Maybe they should have been architects!

Anyway, I think they'd probably pass along the Tepee building knowledge with a smile, as long as they were able to sit in the Tepee for a while and remember the good old days of being a free little Indian girl.


LindaG said...

Hmm. I've always spelled it teepee. ;o)
I bet they would love to teach Shaye, too. :o)

Lana said...

I had always spelled it Teepee as well, but decided to go with the more posh spelling. haha. Regardless, they've been a big part of our lives. Shaye would love to be able to build one in the backyard. We might have to work that out!


MamaTea said...

At our old house, every year the boys would add another teepee in the woods. Talk about fun first I would help them, but after awhile I just sat back and watched. They always wanted dad to tan his deer hides so they could use them on the teepee, but it never happened. I'm happy to report, now that we've moved to the farm, I did find them building a new teepee in the woods here. :) Great memories you have! said...

Mama Tea --- It's wonderful that kids are still building Teepees. I hope my niece will learn to build them as well and carry on the tradition of having the memories of enjoying the old-style shelter! I can only imagine what it must've been like to LIVE in the real thing!