Niitsitapiisini: Our Way of LifeHome

 

Preparing for the Cold

How we lived with the Land

Preparing for the Cold

As the days shortened, our people moved toward their winter camping grounds. They travelled to the foothills where they cut lodgepole pine trees to replace any worn tipi poles. Lodge covers that had become worn were replaced with new ones.

Cutting Tipi Poles

In the late fall we traveled to the foothills to find lodge pole pines. These trees grow tall and very straight, but are not very big around. They were the best trees for making poles to hold up our tipis.

After we had peeled the bark, we had long, straight, and sturdy poles. These trees only grew in the foothills, the Porcupine Hills, and the Cypress Hills. We always stopped at these places to replace our worn poles.
Cutting Tipi Poles

Foothills of North Western Montana Courtesy of Glenbow Museum
   

Dogs (Imitaa)

Dogs have always lived with our people. They guarded the camps, barking at strangers who dared to approach. They often helped us hunt, helping to track and corner animals. When the old people talked, the dogs would listen and understand what was said.

Before our people had horses, dogs carried everything. We lashed two lodgepole pine poles together, crossing them above the dog's shoulders. A willow platform was made between the poles, behind the animal's tail. Tipi covers and other heavy gear were lashed onto this circular platform. In this way, our dogs could carry a heavier load than with a pack.
Dogs (Imitaa)

 


 

"The cold weather has begun. It is time to move to our winter camp in the river valley."
Moving camp

 

"The river valley will have good shelter from the storms and plenty of wood for our fires. Many clans will camp close to each other."
Moving camp


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