The Lighting of the Tipis at Rocky Mountain College by Sydney Weaver of the Summit Staff

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In 1990 Congress and George H. W. Bush signed a joint resolution that designated the month of November the National American Indian Heritage Month. To celebrate the month of November,  RMC’s Native American Outreach, alongside Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council and Pretty Sheild Foundation put together a display of tipis from Nov 4-7 with a dance demonstration on Friday. According to RMC’s Native American Outreach coordinator, Michaela Talksabout, the number four is significant to many Native American tribes because it recognizes the four directions.  As such, they set up four tipis, for four days, starting on Nov 4 Talksabout says that in order to support Native American people and to connect with the community, the lighting of the tipis is a foot in the door. 

Normally, the dance ceremonies and tipis are secluded or private, but this past weekend’s event was a rare opportunity for the general public to witness these ceremonies. The dance demonstration on Friday was accompanied by a seven-man drum group and dancers dressed in ceremonial regalia, including some RMC student-athletes. People were allowed to take photos before and after the demonstration, and elders from the tribes were there to answer questions and explain the significance of the ceremony. 

“This is a gamechanger for Indian people,” Talksabout explained. It isn’t every day four tipis are set up in the middle of Billings, MT for everyone to see.

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For more information about Native American Indian Heritage Month, visit:

https://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/generic/American_Indian_Heritage_Month.htm

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