North Dakota Government site North Dakota Tourism site

Tipi Etiquette

Tipi Etiquette

  1. An open door was a sign of welcome.
  2. Men entered to the right, women to the left.
  3. Younger men remained silent until they were invited to speak.
  4. No one walked between the fire and another person.
  5. Visitors brought their own bowls.
  6. When the host cleaned his pipe, that was a signal to leave.

Note: When meetings were held by Plains Indians, everyone sat in a circle to indicate harmony and connectedness. A Talking Stick would be passed to the right (clockwise) to indicate the direction the sun travels, and only the person who held the stick could talk. The stick was and still is a symbol of respect for the thoughts and the stories of each member of the circle. All others in the circle were expected to sit quietly and engage in active listening. No one interrupted while the person holding the Talking Stick was speaking. When the person holding the Talking Stick was finished speaking, it was handed to the next person in the circle. If that person chose to not speak, the stick was then handed to the next person until everyone in the circle had participated. Anything could be used as a Talking Stick as long as it had personal meaning.