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Historical Tidbit Thursdays - The Indian Tipi - Etiquette - #TidbitThursday

Howdy! Welcome to Tidbit Thurday!

Although Native Americans were called "savages", they actually had pretty strict rules they lived by and guide their manners.

Etiquette regarding entering someone's home was simple enough - if the door was open, friends could walk right in. If the door was closed, the visitor would call out or shake the door covering. They would wait to be invited inside.

A pretty funny joke was that if someone heard knocking, it was a government agent.

If a visitor found two sticks crossed over a door, that indicated the owners were away (or really didn't want company). Usually the smoke flaps would be crossed over the smoke hole to close it (and not allow smoke to escape).

In some tribes, inside the tipi, men typically sat on the north side and women sat on the south side. When entering, a man moved to the right walking behind anyone who was seated until they reached their spot. The seated person would lean forward. If the guest needed to walk between a seated person and the central fire, they would pardon themselves.

Typically, men would be served first starting with the oldest. The host would wait until all the guests had eaten before partaking of the meal. Guests were encouraged to eat everything they were given or else carry it home.

When the host cleaned his pipe and set it aside, that was the signal for guests to leave. They did not waste time on lengthy goodbyes.

Source:
"The Indian Tipi: Its History, Construction, and Use" by Reginald and Gladys Laubin
ISBN#0-8061-2236-6

Historical Tidbit Thursdays - The Indian Tipi - The Fire Keeper - #TidbitThursday

Howdy! Welcome to Tidbit Thurday!

In some Native American tribes and cultures there is the concept of the Fire Keeper. Not unlike the Olympic Torch Bearer, this person carries a live coal in a special container (like a prepared horn slung over the shoulder) to the next camp to light the fires. In some tribes, the coal came from a sacred fire place and would like the next sacred fire.

Once the Fire Keeper kindled a fire, women would light their own tipi fire from it. The fire was kept alive until it was time to move again.

Every night, the fire was allowed to die down. The coals would be covered in their own ash. In the morning, the cold ashes would be scraped aside to reveal the live coals.

Source:
"The Indian Tipi: Its History, Construction, and Use" by Reginald and Gladys Laubin
ISBN#0-8061-2236-6

Historical Tidbit Thursdays - The Indian Tipi - The Tipi Fire - #TidbitThursday

Howdy!

Today we're going to take a look at the tipi fire, the very central necessity that provides warmth and, in colder weather, a means to cook food.

A typical tipi fire consists of a ring of stones containing wood and burning material. In more permanent homes (such as a winter home or a summer home that will remain in place for several months), a shallow put would be dug.

The size of the ring varied by the tribe and the size of the tipi. Cheyenne and Arapaho built there ring 12"x25"x3". Comanches, Kiowas, Blackfeet, and Sioux built theirs 18-20" across.

The type of wood used to burn varied by the location and season. Wood that burned longer, threw less sparks and omitted less smoke were preferred. Hardwood (such as Willow, Cottonwood, Service berry, Chokecherry, Mountain maple, River birch) was best. Maple and Ash were good choices. Evergreens gave off too much smoke and sparks. Aspen gives off a lot of sparks but not a lot of smoke and smells sweet. Pine gives little heat. Burning Birch also has a sweet fragrance. Alder was known as "stinkwood".

Wood gathering was a community effort. Stacks of firewood were stored inside the tipi to the left of the doorway.

Sticks were used as pokers. Pipestem were used to fan coals. Narrow saplings were used as tongs.

Little chunks of greasy fat were tossed into fire for additional light.

Source:
"The Indian Tipi: Its History, Construction, and Use" by Reginald and Gladys Laubin
ISBN#0-8061-2236-6