Pegging Down Covers&some Liners

Modern sewn loops and pebble ties

Liners can be attached or pegged down at the ground level by a rope or peg.  Ropes are wrapped around the bottom of the tipi pole with liner tied to the rope.  Main method is to peg down the lining.  Another method is to attach the bottom of the lining to the "butt" or bottom of the pole and then the top is tied to the pole inside.  

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Lining attached to rope wrapped around "butt" of pole.

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Lining attached to poles, top and bottom.


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Lining is attached to a rope going on outside-attached to "butt" of  poles.



Teepee Tseiwei




Historic Covers using sewn loops or pebbles and chord/rope ties.

From what I have found out from all the photos from the earliest time I can CLEARLY see the bottoms to about 1870 or so.....most are sewn loops and hemmed.  The pebble method is used by all tribes as well as the sewn loops and hems.  Then there is a combination of tipis with pebbles and sewn loops.  The reason for the pebbles could be as replacements. 

The few photos here, from what I have gleamed so far, will let you decide pebble or sewn loop.  But some photos are not clearly marked as for year or tribe.  You may have to identify others on your own.  Many have their identification in the photo ID.  Some photos also show where rocks are attached to hold the cover down.  I have circled areas of interest or to point out what we are looking for. 

It is very hard to distinguish pebbles from loops on MOST photos.  One way is a clear shot showing either one.  Anther way is to see how the wrinkles form around a pebble as opposed to a sew loop.  But that can sometimes be deceiving if you pound a sewn loop too hard.  It can create a similar wrinkled appearance as the pebble.  Another way is the curved bottom of the cover from loop to loop that you see on sewn loops as opposed to pebbles which appear straighter across the bottom and sometimes have a 1 to 5 inch or more bottom hang.  Anther problem is that almost all the old tipis are VERY close or touching the ground to keep the drafts out.  Today's' tipis are much higher off the ground because of the modern fitted liner so the need for longer sewn loops or chords on the pegs.  The more the tipi covers hit the ground the less likely that the tipi used pebbles.  Sewn loops work much better on close contact with he ground. 

The Laubins downplayed the sewn loops for the pebbles with chord/rope ties.  He also made the statement that there was a division between Northern tipis and Southern ones by the use of the pegging method.   "the Indian way of attaching the peg loops, as illustrated, is not only ingenious but easy and sturdy--far better than either sewn or stamped grommets.  Place a pebble...." and then he goes on to describe the pebble method in detail.  He does not go into detail on sewn loops.  And then he goes on about not needing to hem the bottom because of the bias cut of the canvas and then states the most Indians did not hem their covers.  This may not be true from all the photos I just went through.  I would say most are hemmed. But you be the judge from the what is pictured here.


Sioux tipis pebble ties 1890

Pine Ridge 1891 Loops

Crow with loops and pebbles

Sewn Loops

Cheyenne 1910 sewn loops

Cheyenne 1900 pebble

Ponca sewn ties

Moorehouse photo sewn ties

Cayuse with Rocks held by ties


Hand sewn tie to hemmed cover

Seton drawing 1917 sewn loops

sewn ties

Pebble ties Denver Art Museum Sioux

Pebble ties Denver Art Museum Sioux

Pebble ties un-hemmed bottom

sewn loop high off ground

Sewn loops high off ground with liner showing 1954

Sewn loops on toy tipi

Sewn loops

Sioux sewn loops  hemmed bottom c1880 by Zimmerman

Sewn loops heavily in ground

Sitting Bull tipi sewn loops

Cheyenne pebbles and ties