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Buffalo hide tipi project on display

January 1, 2011

A buffalo hide tipi constructed as part of a St. Stephen’s Indian School project is on display in the lobby of Central Wyoming College’s Intertribal Education and Community Center to celebrate National Native American Month.
A group of students, elders, mentors, teachers and community members spent nine years constructing the tipi by replicating original techniques employed by Arapaho people in 1870.
The project began as an interdisciplinary, cross cultural activity that included history, writing, the Arapaho language and culture and tribal government, said CWC Diversity Coordinator Sergio A. Maldonado, Sr., who is also a board member at St. Stephen’s.
A group traveled to Washington D.C. to conduct research at the Smithsonian, and with assistance from staff at the National Museum of the American Indian and the Natural History Museum, were able to construct the tipi by using the methods of tanning and stitching 13 the buffalo hides, explained John C’Hair, one of the project’s organizers. The community participated by donating buffalo hides.
The tipi, which is set up under the drum-inspired ocular in the center of the lobby, is on display through the month of November. It can be viewed during regular college hours though Maldonado can be contacted for tours by student groups at 855-2285.