Volume 2, Article 5
PLAINS APACHE TIPIS: RESIDENTIAL AND CEREMONIAL LODGES
By: Michelle Stokely
For many Americans, tipis symbolize the nomadic Native American culture and lifestyle. This understanding has been so extensively advanced by paintings, advertising, films, and television that tipis have come to be associated with Native American groups in almost all geographical regions. Tipis were, however, an integral part of residential and ceremonial life in the Great Plains where both construction and use were closely tied to indigenous social organization, politics, war, and spirituality. Among the Kiowa and Plains Apache, residents of the Southern Plains, some tipi covers were painted to reflect war deeds or spiritual blessings. This paper examines the construction, decoration, ownership, and destruction of historic Plains Apache tipis, as well as modern uses of the iconic structures.