Teepee Facts

Teepee FactsThe teepee is a Native American variation on the tent. Made from parts that can be easily fashioned in the wild using only basic tools, the teepee is an eminently portable and practical shelter option.

Basic Structure

A teepee's main structure is made from three poles that are arranged as a tripod. Other slightly shorter poles are then laid onto this tripod to help support the teepee walls.



Native American teepees were clad in animal skins, especially that of the buffalo. Most modern examples are wrapped in canvas.


Very often, the top of the teepee was left open, allowing it to serve as a chimney. Unlike many tent designs, the teepee can safely accommodate a small open fire.

Who Used It

The teepee is ideally suited to the nomadic lifestyle and was used by Plains Indian tribes such as the Lakota, Shoshone and Sioux. The word "teepee" comes from the Lakota language.

Who Didn't Use It

The dome-like wigwam is sometimes confused with the teepee, but it is a different structure and was used by Algonquians in the eastern United States. Most North American Indian tribes outside of the Plains were not nomadic, and lived in houses made from timber, thatch and/or adobe.

Article Written By Edwin Thomas

Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.

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