August 02, 2007

Yuppies move into tepees

A New Tribe of Tepee DwellersHer one-bedroom farmhouse in the hills outside the town of Evissa had no guest quarters, so she leased a nearby cottage for her visitors. When the rent went up, she did what any resourceful, neo-bohemian Ibizan would: She bought a 16-by-18-foot canvas tepee, had it painted with tribal patterns in earth red and big-sky blue, and set it up just beyond her pool in the shade of a palm tree. All for just $2,165.

“I always had this romantic idea of sleeping in a tepee,” said Ms. Cook, 33, who lives on the island from May through October (she runs her company, Deliciously Sorted, from London in the winter) and has furnished the room with a double bed, Mexican votive candles and a Persian rug. “But mainly, it was a really practical way to create another room.”

Ms. Cook is one of a small but growing number of residents here who have embraced the tepee as an appealing alternative to expensive home additions. On an island still heavily influenced by the countercultural ethos and grab-bag multiculturalism of the backpackers who flocked here in the ’60s, tepees strike many as an appropriately down-to-earth and soulful place to crash for the night.
What about the decorations?In keeping with the prevailing spirit of Ibiza, tepee owners tend to draw on the lore of tribal life in their decorating. Many go well beyond the painted patterns on tepees like Ms. Cook’s in their efforts to evoke a sense of cultural and spiritual authenticity, displaying ceremonial Native American objects like carved wooden drums, dream catchers, medicine pouches and bunches of spiritually purifying dried herbs.

In fact, the original plains tepee had no religious or ceremonial significance, and this kind of decorating amounts to merely “glamorizing the past,” said Linda A. Holley, the author of “Tipis, Tepees, Teepees,” a guide to the history of tepees published by Gibbs Smith earlier this year. “It’s a myth that really isn’t there that a lot of people believe in anyway,” she said.

Others don’t even try for authenticity, blithely mixing furnishings from any number of cultures, as long as they seem suitably primitive. Ursula Erasmus, a German businesswoman who gave up her career as an importer of accessories from Asia last year because she “was sick of the stress of too many picky clients,” and retired to Ibiza, decorated her 23-foot tepee with dozens of cow- and goat-hide floor coverings bought on eBay and a Balinese day bed, along with Native American drums and instruments.


writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
Wow, another 'expert' strikes again! And that's three strikes, all at once! The Kiowan tipis DID have spiritual AND ceremonial significances WHEN THEY WERE THE MEDICINE CLAN'S (any of 10) TIPIS!! And the tipis of the Tonh-Konh-Gaw and Oh-ha-mah warrior societies definitely were decorated both for ceremonial and spiritual reasons. And the average warrior's tipi was decorated with the evnts of his birth, then with the items seen when he was on his Vision Quest and then with the exploits of his warrior history, much like the medals modern soldiers wear.
But of course, 'experts' know all and cannot be wrong because they put their versions of reality out in book form and sell it worldwide. The poor Native heathens only imagine that they know their pasts and their histories and their cultures...
All Best
Russ Bates

Unknown said...

The reporter did not quote the author of the book correctly. This seems to be a problem in the newspaper world. It was emphasised several times to the reported that....what I did say as a quote is that "the tipi is a Nomadic structure of what you make it... home, church or meeting house. And like a house you can decorate or call it anything you want....not all tipis are sacred".
Many people today make all tipis out as sacred structures when they are not.

Russell is right about the certain Kiowa lodges, or Sioux or any tribe for that manner.

It is just too bad the journalist chose to slant it her way and not what was said. No one is an expert in anything...maybe just a bit more knowledgable than most.

The book stayed away from the medicine, clan, society and most other special decorated tipis to help prevent in the copying of these materials by others who are not knowledgeable in the correct manner of use or the special rites which go with such tipis.

Rob said...

Are you Linda A. Holley, the book's author?

Unknown said...