A tipi (also teepee, tepee) is a conical tent originally made of animal skins or birch bark and popularized by the Native Americans of the Great Plains. Tipis are stereotypically associated with Native Americans in general, but Native Americans from places other than the Great Plains used different types of dwellings. The term wigwam is sometimes incorrectly used to refer to a dwelling of this type. The tipi was durable, provided warmth and comfort in winter, was dry during heavy rains, and was cool in the heat of summer. Tipis could be disassembled and packed away quickly when a tribe decided to move, and could be reconstructed quickly when the tribe settled in a new area. This portability was important to those Plains Indians who had a nomadic lifestyle.
Benson John Lossing, ed. Harper's Encyclopedia of United States History (vol. 10) (New York, NY: Harper and Brothers, 1912)
Courtesy the private collection of Roy Winkelman