Teepee-raising launches Native American Heritage Month at NWC

(Powell, Wyo.) – In honor of Native American Heritage Month, Northwest College hosted a special Teepee raising event this evening, and it was a beautiful experience.

Although it was chilly, and got dark quickly, about 20 people gathered in the yard of the Intercultural Center to experience the teepee raise. It began with Elder Berdick Tow Legging of the Crow Tribe offering a blessing and prayer.

Following the blessing, Johnny Tim Yellowtail, Chris Finley and a few others, teamed up to raise a teepee.  Yellowtail is a member of the Crow Nation raised in the Apsáalooke ways. Finley is an archaeologist who retired a couple of years ago as cultural resource program manager for the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area.

The evening was full of discussions about the significance of teepees to Native Americans, both historically and in today’s world. They demonstrated how to raise a teepee honoring the Apsáalooke tradition, explaining how various tribal protocols call for differences in teepee-raising. They also talked about the ceremonies still held today in Native American teepees.

To continue the celebration of Native American Heritage Month, there will a free Beading Night on Wednesday, November 4 at 6:30 p.m. at the NWC Intercultural House.