UMOH TSIS KI MAH PIA -TIPI RINGS
The circles of stones were normally used to hold down the edges of the lodges. The old tipis were made of buffalo skins and were much heavier than the canvas ones. They could not be blown away as easily, so stones were able to hold them in place. But when we started to use canvas, we had to use pegs or our tipis would be blown over. Stones were also used between the pegs.
Thousands of tipi rings can be still be found on the prairie. Each one has its own story. The size of the ring indicates if the tipi was used during the dog days when dogs carried the tipis, or after the horse arrived. If there are two rings, and a circle of stones in the centre, it was probably used in the winter.
The inner ring was the liner, and the stones were the fireplace. The number of tipi rings in an area shows how many people camped together.
Across the traditional Blackfoot territory stone circles can still be found where the nomadic Blackfoot camped during the great buffalo hunts. Rocks were used to hold down the edges of the tipi before the tipi peg came into use. These rocks were left as a marker after the people broke camp.