Students practice Lakota culture with tipi raising

posted on March 26, 2012

Students in Philomine Lakota language class took advantage of the recent spell of spring-like weather by helping set up two tipis that Red Cloud purchased for its Lakota Studies program.

The first tipi was erected by Philomine’s sons – and former Red Cloud students – Teton and Aaron Lakota. The second was a joint effort by Philomine’s fourth period students, under the instruction of Teton.

Inside the finished structure, classes listened to stories about past Lakota society, and the significance of the tipi to Lakota culture. Philomine explained that each part of the tipi was representative of a part of the traditional Lakota family: The poles (thušu) represent the men, and how they are the strong backbone of the family; the covering (tȟaha) represents the women, and how they act as a soft, gentle windbreak for the children; the stakes (huŋpȟe) represent the young ones, who will be uprooted if the poles and covering do not function well; and the pegs above the doorway (wihiŋpaspa) represent each of the values that the family lives by.

The tipis will continue to be used on a regular basis by Lakota Studies classes and, if the unseasonably warm weather continues, they just might become secondary classrooms.

A photo gallery of the tipi raising can be found HERE