72. MAKING THE TIPI.
When the buffalo hides have been scraped they rub brains on them and work them until they are soft. Seven skins are prepared in this manner, and spread on the ground to dry. The skins are arranged on the ground to form the cover, one entire skin being placed in such a position as to form the back. Much sinew having been prepared for thread by twisting, many women assemble and assist in the sewing. When the skins have been sewed together they are placed in water. The tipi poles are then set up. The tipi cover having been attached to the pole which is to stand at the back, many women take hold of it. As they do this, one of them whistles. They pull the cover from both sides toward the center, saying, "Make it
lap." They put in above the doorway the sticks which have been cut the proper length. The cover is fastened to the ground around the bottom by means of pegs. The two poles are inserted to hold the flaps at the smoke hole called its mouth. Finally, they dig a place for the fire.
While the others are sitting about, the medicineman takes a firedrill and starts the fire. The women prepare food for a feast and when it is evening the people gather. About dark, the medicineman begins to sing and continues with the assistance of the others until dawn. They eat about midnight and again in the morning.
The sinew which is left from the sewing is tied with eagle down to the inside of the tipi. This is the way tipis are made.
They used to live in it as in a house. Even during the winter the cold did not penetrate. When the cover of the tipi became hard they worked it again between their hands until it was soft. When camp was moved, it was nicely folded and packed on a horse. In this manner they moved it about.