What Was It Like To Live In A Teepee

Ute teepees

George Bird Grinnell spent thirty years studying the Cheyenne Indians. His book The Cheyenne Indians: Their History and Ways of Life describes life in their tepees.

The Cheyenne tepee was oval shaped, longer from the entrance to the back. The fire pit in the center of the lodge was tended by the women.

The family lived to the left of the entrance and their sleeping area was toward the back of the lodge. A visitor entering the lodge turned to the right and paused until invited to sit. A visitor was expected not to enter the family area of the lodge. Walking between the fire and any seated person was offensive. Everyone walked behind people seated by the fire.

Bird reported that tepees were comfortably warm in winter and cool in summer when the lower part of the tepee was rolled up to allow the breeze to flow through.

Previous posts on this blog offer first hand accounts of life in a Ute camp as recorded by a member of the Hayden Survey: tepees, sounds in a Ute camp, and life in a Ute camp.

This series of posts attempts to answer the most frequent questions asked by students who visited this site in 2012 (based on search terms used).

Photo courtesy Denver Public Library, Western History Collection

Published in: on January 28, 2013 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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