Author Topic: How to build a Plains Indian Tepee  (Read 1944 times)

Offline Fred8328

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How to build a Plains Indian Tepee
« on: January 30, 2010, 08:52:44 AM »

Just a thought, if you ever needed a good shelter post SHTF, maybe a Tee Pee is a decent idea...

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Plains Indian Tepee

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Plains-Indian Tepee

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The tepee of the Plains Indians is a fine dwelling, where poles are available and a permanent camp is in order. It is a roomy structure in which a fire may be built, and is comfortable in extremes of heat or cold. The pattern of the tepee (Plate 67) is cut in the shape of a halfcircle (A), twice as long as it is wide, with 2 smoke flaps (B) near the center of the pattern. Fifteen by 30 feet is a good size. If the tepee is smaller, it is difficult to keep it free of smoke. Eight-ounce canvas is satisfactory for the cover.

When the tepee is erected, it forms a *cone shape; and the straight edges, where the smoke flaps are sewed, overlap and are held together with wooden pins. It is here that this detail noted. If you follow the drawing closely, you will see that one side of the straight edge has an extra strip of canvas sewed to it for this overlap (C). A double row of holes is punched along the straight edge at (C) and (D). The edge at (D) will be under the overlapping (C) edge, and the row of holes will be a trifle wider apart than (C). These holes should be reinforced with a buttonhole stitch or metal grommets inserted.

A half-circle door opening (E) is cut at both ends so that when the edges are brought together a complete circular door opening will result. The door itself is. made of a round piece of canvas with additions to be turned in and hemmed (F). When the hem is completed, a flexible willow stick is inserted, making a firm door (G). A rope-loop is tied to the top of the willow stick, and is hung upon the pin just above the door and forms the hinge (H).

Little pockets are made of three-cornered pieces of canvas and sewed to the tips of the smoke flaps (B). Reinforcing pieces of canvas (X) should be sewed to parts where extra strain is expected, especially around the smoke flaps and the center of the cover, which is lashed to the top of the poles (l).

A rope is hemmed around the circular base, and rope loops for pegging down the tepee are equally spaced around it (J). A rope is attached at (I) which lashes the cover to the poles.
Erecting the Tepee

Twelve or more poles are needed for the tepee framework (Plate 68). These should be straight and smooth, and at least 3 feet longer than the width of the cover. If the tepee is 15 feet wide, the poles should be at least 18 feet long.

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Three of the strongest poles are made into a tripod (K), tied together a little higher than the height of the cover. The rest of the poles are then placed against the tripod, forming the cone-sbaped frame for the canvas cover. These are lashed together at the top with rope (L) . The last pole to be placed has the tepee cover fastened”to it, and should be placed opposite to where the door is to be (M).

The cover is then pulled around the pole framework and fastened together at the overlap with wooden pins about a foot long, tapering at both ends (N) (Plate 67). The bottom is pegged down, and the poles inside are spread to stretch the cover (0). Two additional light poles are needed for the smoke flaps, and these are inserted into the pockets of the flaps (P). The poles can be moved about to change the position of the smoke flaps so the smoke can be drawn from the tepee. The drawing (Q) shows how the air comes in at the base of the tepee and is drawn out at the smoke hole. The flaps act as a sort of chimney, creating a draught.
Tepee Fire

Only a small fire is needed to warm a tepee. Usually a small fireplace is made a bit back from the center of the lodge, a shallow hole about 15 inches in diameter lined with stones (Plate 68). The walls reflect the heat, and it is surprising how quickly a small stick fire heats the interior. Use only good dry wood that burns with a clear flame. Any smoke within will serve as an incense and keep the mosquitoes away.
Hints for a Rainy Day

One of the annoyances of a tepee type of dwelling is that water may run down inside on the poles during a heavy rain. One way of preventing this is to use a “bull boat,” a circular piece of canvas placed on top of the poles (Plate 68).

Another method was shown me by Dr. L. B. Sharp of Life Camps. He fastens a long cord on each pole just under the top of the cover, tied so that the cord leads from the underside of the pole. About halfway down, these cords are gathered together with one leading to a tin can. Rain coming down the poles is stopped by the cords and led down into the tin instead of continuing down the poles and eventually onto your bed.


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