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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  Special Interests - Groups & Societies  |  The American Plainsmen Society (Moderators: Caleb Hobbs, Tsalagidave)  |  Topic: Tipi Height 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: Tipi Height  (Read 928 times)
Niederlander
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« on: February 27, 2017, 05:53:52 pm »


Gentlemen, 
     I need to know how tall Plains Indian teepees generally were.  I've been searching Google and no one seems to come right out and say how tall they were.  Thanks!
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« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2017, 09:13:53 pm »

As each one was handcrafted of locally acquired material by many different groups with differing customs and resourses.  I doubt that you will find any standardization at all. Even modern replica's vary quite a bit, and they have been made with the aid of a tape measure.

In my experience as a guest in several, I'd say 20 foot makes a respectable size for a leaders tipi, with room for a large family, or quests over for an evening smoke. Tipi's as small as 17 foot still have room and won't be too big to carry in a pick'em up truck equipped with a rack for the poles.

I have read that tipi's were much smaller before horses were acquired to drag them monster poles. Dogs could only carry onmly so much!

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Niederlander
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« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2017, 09:18:27 pm »

That would make sense.  I remember reading once where the Plains Indian word for horse was usually something that meant "seven dogs", because a horse could carry the same load as seven dogs.  I've been looking at pictures of tipis in various books on Plains Indians, and a lot of them couldn't have been much over twelve feet tall, looking at the people next to them.
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« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2017, 09:44:40 pm »

In the pre horse days a 12 to 14 foot (measured from front to rear) seems to be the common size. These could sleep up to four. The horse allowed larger tipis and then canvas yet larger, 20 to 25 foot or perhaps larger. As size grows the poles must get longer of coarse. I used 27 foot poles with my 20 foot Cheyenne style tipi. A 17 foot sounds like a good size for historic planes indian lodges.
I highly recommend "The Indian Tipi " by Laubin For any new tipi owner or some one just interested in tipis.
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« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2017, 10:17:12 pm »

I would bet no more than 10 or twelve feet. There are hundreds of teepee rings in my pastures here, and all but a couple aren't much bigger than 10-12 ft in diameter.
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« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2017, 11:36:15 pm »

this may help  Smiley


* tipi-pole-size-chart.jpg (21.73 KB, 426x244 - viewed 57 times.)
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Tascosa Joe
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« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2017, 08:36:13 am »

I packed an 18 ft around for years.  It would hold a lot of people.  I had 3 boys, but all were in the 7-10 yr range and we nearly always had an extra person to a family of 4 with us.  The poles for the 18 were about 25ft + as I remember.  +1 on Laubin's book.  There are pretty good examples at Cody and the Panhandle Plains Historical Society Museum in Canyon, TX.
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Crooked River Bob
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« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2017, 12:56:43 pm »

I don't know if this will help, but here is a link to an image of Jackson Sundown's buffalo hide tipi:  Plateau Tipi

This photo obviously dates well after the 1840-1865 timeframe that interests us here, but on the other hand it does show an authentic buffalo hide tipi, which was already old when the picture was taken circa 1916, evidently at the Pendleton Round-Up.  The man on the left is Roy Bishop, who was (I think) involved with Pendleton Woolen Mills as well as the Round-Up, and the man on the right is Jackson Sundown, one of the greatest, if not the greatest bronc rider of all time.  Sundown was born in 1863, so he would have been well into his fifties when this picture was taken.

Anyway, I laid a ruler on the computer screen and determined as well as I could that the tipi is about twice Sundown's height, looking through the poles and measuring to the top of the lodgeskins but not the smoke flaps. If we figure Sundown was close to six feet tall, the tipi would be in the neighborhood of twelve feet.  I think this was probably about average for hide tipis.

As an aside, I recently read The Arctic Prairies, by Ernest Thompson Seton.  The Chipewyan Indians with whom he stayed were still using portable lodges similar to plains Indian tipis, although theirs were likely made of caribou hide.  Seton pointed out that all of the Indian camps were swarming with dogs, and the dogs liked to chew on the hide covers.  This was one reason the people started using canvas as soon as they could get it, as the dogs were less likely to chew the canvas.  Seton also reported the dogs would frequently urinate on tents and lodges, whether canvas or hide.  The smell inside the structure was almost overpowering.  I suspect plains Indian tipis suffered the same fate.

One of those little historic details reenactors probably don't want to incorporate into their period camps...

Best regards,

Crooked River Bob
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Gabriel Law
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« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2017, 03:58:00 pm »

Tipis are wonderful summer homes.  I'm currently on my third, an 18' Cheyenne style, having worn out two 20 footers since 1974.  There is a huge amount of space for your 'stuff', your family and your friends, and a tipi lit up by it's evening fire is a calling card for folks to come and visit.
Here's a picture of my camp, set up at a Historic Site for interaction by the public.





I no longer sleep on the ground, but on a proper full sized bed, under the luxurious buffalo robe.



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nativeshooter
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« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2017, 09:00:04 pm »

my uncle sells 18' 16' and 12' occasionally he'll sell 20' poles as well, so they get big. these are for lakota style tipis.
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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  Special Interests - Groups & Societies  |  The American Plainsmen Society (Moderators: Caleb Hobbs, Tsalagidave)  |  Topic: Tipi Height « previous next »
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