THE 14 POLES OF THE TIPI (Northern Plains Indians)

THE 14 POLES OF THE TIPI (Northern Plains Indians)

By TLB Media Technical Director,  Author & TLBTV Show Host (LEARN 2 UNLEARN): Luca Majno

Everything that they did had a Purpose.

Everything was in place

Everything was Perfect

Creator will be Honored”, they said…

Creator will listen and sit with us inside, at our fires…”

The more we ‘go inside’, in our own hearts, the more we see the essence of the way things were done before ~ the intent and spirit in which things were done.

It was once said:

“The most difficult, the most important journey that we will ever take in our lives, is the eighteen inches from our head to our heart.”

And then, our eyes open.

Life seen through the heart is Life seen through the eyes of the Original People here, on ‘Turtle Island’, what we call ‘America’ today. Imagine a system that is literally polar opposite from the one in which we now live… A system in which the tiniest living beings are respected as all others are, a system in which one would not eat without Giving Thanks, one would not pick Medicines without Giving Thanks in Prayer…

Yes, the essence of their being was built around the ‘pillars’, the representation of what their lives stood for. And this essence came through each pole, in this case, in the building of their lodges… This is an offering of their lives… “The 14 Poles Of The Tipi”. 

And so, each pole of the Tipi has a meaning ~ a representation, a purpose… and it is a Sacrifice of the People, for the People, when it is assembled. There is a good reason why people say, for example, that for the Apache, “Everything they did was Sacred.” Although every tribe was different, and there were once over 500 of them spread across this land, they all shared a common core value, a respect for Life, a need for Balance and Giving Thanks every day for their lives, a chance for a new day, to make a better life FOR OTHERS…

~ THE POLES ~ (Tipi: Northern Plains Indians)

  1. OBEDIENCE. (to your parents first, as children, then to Elders)
  2. RESPECT. (to All My Relations ~ the Spirit of all living entities)
  3. HUMILITY. (remaining inside ~ honoring the Spirit within, without)
  4. HAPPINESS. (joy, laughter, peace, fun)
  5. LOVE. (the basic foundation of life, the opening of the heart)
  6. FAITH. (belief in Creator)
  7. KINSHIP. (All My Relations, the immediate and extended family)
  8. CLEANLINESS. (removing that which would harm you)
  9. THANKFULNESS. (gratitude to Creator and to all that is provided for you)
  10. STRENGTH. (the ability to use physical and spiritual power in a good way)
  11. GOOD CHILD REARING. (raising our children with care and wise teachings)
  12. HOPE. (the desire of our prayers)
  13. ULTIMATE PROTECTION. (trust in Creator and Spirit, the tribe)
  14. CONTROL FLAPS. (keeping elements out of allowing smoke to release)

Of course, there are smaller or even larger ones that are built, but I am using this example because at this time, I am living among the People of this area, and so I am honoring their Ancestors, in this case, the Tsalagi (Cherokee).

With each pole came a meditation, a prayer. The one holding it (picture below) realizes the responsibility, the pure and sacred actions of this event. And so he or she reflects on the one particular pole and stays silent, quiet and in deep thought. It is now that the Spirit of their Ancestors is called upon to come and to be a part of this event, to honor them and to protect the tipi with their Spirit, their living energies.

The door of the lodge faces the east. The Elder always sits closest to the door, followed by the younger ones in sequence, and the youngest tends to the fire in silence. (picture above) This ensured the Teachings staying in the tribe, from generation to generation.

The respect that I have seen in these two images, ones that I took myself, were so powerful, that they were awe-inspiring and jaw-dropping. One really has to experience these things for themselves to really grasp their importance and their sacredness.

The Elder was once the ‘pillar’ of Teachings, the foundation on which life was built in the tribe, and nothing was done without his consent, or seeking his advice or knowledge.

For example of a polar opposite, look at what we have today: We ‘imprison’ them in old folks homes, “we put them away, so we don’t have to look at them.” (Leo Buscaglia)


Luca Majno is the TLB Project Media Technical Director, TLB Staff Writer, Host of TLBTV’s Learn 2 Unlearn, an investigative journalist, researcher and passionate advocate of Indigenous People (The Original People), of their ‘Turtle Island’ which is now North America. Born in Boston, Ma. and raised in Geneva, Switzerland, he has lived for the last 25 years in Canada, where his activism started, and has since lived in Tennessee and Keokuk, Iowa, where he now resides. Exposing past and present crimes of any nature is a sure way to change the course of humanity towards a brighter future.

Luca Majno is available for speaking engagements here in the United States and can be contacted directly or by clicking the email link on this page:

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (319) 795-4981


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