mount rushmore

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In 1927, workmen with lively nicknames like “Whiskey Art”, “Palooka”, and “Hoot” quit their regular jobs. They were among the 400 people invited to create Mount Rushmore, a massive mountainside carving of four United States presidents in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The work would be on-and-off labor lasting fourteen years.
Mount Rushmore was conceived by the South Dakota state historian Doane Robinson in 1923. He had learned of a similar project underway in the southern US. Just east of
Atlanta, the sculptor Gutzon Borglum had been commissioned to carve into Stone
Mountain the likeness of Confederate General Robert E. Lee and a column of soldiers.
The historian thought a similar undertaking by Borglum could draw tourists’ dollars to the Black Hills region.
To help maximize tourism interest, Borglum suggested that South Dakota choose a theme
of national significance. The men settled upon the first 150 years of United States history,
with four presidents being selected to represent the nation’s development. These include George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt.
Collectively, these men symbolized the country’s founding, expansion, and unity. The
project received approval from Congress and President Calvin Coolidge.
As the project began in 1927, Lakota Sioux people and their supporters opposed the
undertaking. Traditionally, they had called the mountain Six Grandfathers Mountain and traveled it for spiritual journeys. Following the Black Hills War of 1876-1877, the Treaty of Fort Laramie granted the land to the Lakota in perpetuity. Now, the land had again been taken. Furthermore, the creation of 60-foot faces of United States presidents, symbols of their oppression, would forever mar the sacred landscape. The fact that Borglum was a Ku Klux Klan member added to the insult!Six Grandfathers was first informally called Mount Rushmore during an 1885 expedition. Charles Rushmore, a wealthy New York lawyer and prospector, suggested giving the mountain his name.

However, it was also known to white Americans as Cougar Mountain, Sugarloaf Mountain, Slaughterhouse Mountain, and Keystone Cliffs. The United States Board of Geographic Names officially named Mount Rushmore in 1930. Borglum chose this particular mountain for two reasons. First, its face met with sunlight for most of the day. Second, it was composed of smooth granite. The rock would be conducive to carving, and the material erodes very slowly (about an inch every 10,000 years). Nonetheless, over fourteen years of labor the faces suffered minor cracks. Fractures were sealed with pegmatite and are evident in lighter streaks on the presidents’ foreheads.
As the project went on, some people continued to question what the faces were
symbolizing, and whether the monument should be considered racist given the history of US expansion through native lands. In 1937, before the project was finished, a bill in US Congress proposed adding the face of Susan B. Anthony, a symbol for civil rights.
However, federal funds were ultimately refused.
Members of the American Indian Movement occupied the monument in 1971.

native american chief photography

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The Lakota holy man John Fire Lame Deer said that the protestors formed a symbolic shroud over the presidents’ faces, “which shall remain dirty until the treaties concerning the Black Hills are fulfilled”. (A monument to the Native American leader Crazy Horse, first proposed in 1939, is being constructed eight miles away. It is also controversial.)
Of some solace to opponents is that the monument, already six stories tall, was intended to be much larger but lacked funding. The original project cost just under $1 million during the Great Depression. (The largest single donation came from Charles Rushmore himself, who gave $5,000.) Borglum had hoped to depict the presidents from head to waist.
The artist also intended to chisel an expansive panel in the shape of the Louisiana
Purchase. This would include gilded words commemorating founding documents and territorial expansion; imagine the golden 8-foot tall letters “U. S. Constitution” carved into a mountainside. Instead, similar information is now engraved on porcelain panels inside a vault installed behind the faces in 1998. The engravings include the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, biographies of the four presidents, and a history of the United States.
A 1998 update to the Visitor Center cost $58 million. The renovation added the porcelain panels, expanded visitor parking, and created a Lincoln Borglum Museum.

Well! It is beautiful. It is inspirational. It is mystical. It is enchanting. It is practical and simple in design.

But what good is the full tipi experience to the students?

How will a Tipi indulge students in a visionary way and make them think about their dreams and goals?

Will students benefit from a ‘back to nature’ experience that will fill them with wonder and joy?

One pupil described to me that being inside a Tipi seemed to ‘throw a switch in my head.’ That, ‘the peace I felt inside one, seemed to take all my fears and worries away for a while… and I could have stayed forever’.

The Tipi is the quintessential message to students of what it means to be a true ‘eco-warrior’. The Plains Natives of centuries ago like the Lakota, Apache and Blackfoot are prime examples of how we should all respect the environment. A far cry from the Hollywood depiction of bloodthirsty savages they were instead great craftsmen and artists, farmers and above all respectful their environment.

Unlike the so-called white settler who almost wiped the Buffalo from their lands when only the Apache hunted simply to eat. They even named themselves after beasts that roamed the plains or flew in the sky and worshipped them as Gods.

They blessed their Earth, Sky and the Sun with dancing and ritual. They were great family lovers and had a strong sense of community based on wisdom and respect for one another.

The Natives of that vast continent have much that can teach our children about respect and generosity.

Our experience has shown us clearly that the Tipi Experience has calming and enlightening benefits for students and teachers. All are bewitched and want to hear just one more story or to digest just one more tidbit of information. Everyone takes home a head filled with memories that they will remember until they too are parents.

Look at two more of our own classroom responses…

“Spending time in a tipi is just stunning. It’s big, comfy, spacious, and recalls feelings of unconstrained freedom, warmth, adventure and delight. It reminds me of valuable time spent with my friends.”
Darek Szybka

“When I stepped into the tipi, I felt as if I was stepping into my own house. It’s because of its unique atmosphere. I felt as a native Indian. It was incredible to watch the sun rays coming though the hole inside during the day, and possibility to watch glittering sky in the night.”
Wojtek Jaszczur, 13 year old

and an observation from a facilitator…

“In the tipi lesson, I tried to show student teachers and elementary students a different way of looking at the world. Study of other cultures is usually relegated to social studies. Natural science is not about diverse cultures, but it is about how people view the physical world. In science, we can question the assumption that all people look at the world in the same way. Different peoples have constructed different sciences. Multicultural science suggests that our understanding of the world may be illuminated if we are willing to admit more than one truth.”

The Apaches were nomadic hunter-gatherers – hunting of wild game and gathering of cactus fruits and other wild plant foods. . They chased any wild game located within their territory, especially deer and rabbits. When necessary, they lived off the land by gathering wild berries, roots, cactus fruit and seeds of the mesquite tree. They planted some corn, beans, and squash as crops. They were extremely hardy prior to the arrival of European diseases, and could live practically naked in zero temperature.

Hunting is a part of daily life – for food, clothing, shelter, blankets. Apache hunted deer, wild turkeys, rabbits, buffalo, bears, mountain lions. There was no fishing. Eagles were hunted for their feathers.

They exchanged buffalo hides, tallow and meat, bones that could be worked into needles and scrapers for hides, and salt from the desert with the Pueblos for pottery, cotton, blankets, turquoise, corn and other goods. But at times they simply saw what they wanted and took it. They became known among the Pueblo villages by another name, Apachu, “the enemy”.

We have found over recent years that more and more green thinking individuals, young and old yearn for the Tipi experience. It  grows in popularity for reasons best known to itself.

We take the view that peoples attitude towards a more eco-friendly leisure pursuit is evolving in a positive way.

Folks as a whole have gravitated towards a leisure lifestyle that works in harmony with the environment to reduce carbon footprints.

Our generation appears more resolute and have taken some sensible lessons from our ancient predecessors.

Not wasting resources.

Tipis and the Native North American way nourish this new-age thinking because of the respect the first indigenous tribes had for their homeland the species within it and its life sustaining qualities.

Fact“72% of our hire customers are under the age of 25 years!
That means Tipis appeal to a younger generation more than ever before.!”



Want to know more about owning a tipi?


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A look to the past reveals some of the most important plants used by Eastern woodland tribes – and an inestimable connection to nature. My adventure into the historical uses of many Native American plants began when Maine native Kerry Hardy, author of Notes on a Lost Flute: A Field Guide to the Wabanaki, presented […]

via Native American Herbs of the Northeast — Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

What a find!

leo f. brady

Hi All

I was walking around my Boston neighborhood recently and look what I found. Impressive.

Here is more info about teepees:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tipi

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There was another world before this one. But the people of that world did not behave themselves. Displeased, the Creating Power set out to make a new world. He sang several songs to bring rain, which poured stronger with each song. As he sang the fourth song, the earth split apart and water gushed up through the many cracks, causing a flood. By the time the rain stopped, all of the people and nearly all of the animals had drowned. Only Kangi the crow survived.


The Apache Nation

The Apache Nation. Ref: crystalinks.com

The Apaches were nomadic hunter-gatherers – hunting of wild game and gathering of cactus fruits and other wild plant foods. . They chased any wild game located within their territory, especially deer and rabbits. When necessary, they lived off the land by gathering wild berries, roots, cactus fruit and seeds of the mesquite tree. They planted some corn, beans, and squash as crops. They were extremely hardy prior to the arrival of European diseases, and could live practically naked in zero temperature.


Totem. Ref: cr.nps.gov

Totem. Ref: cr.nps.gov

A totem can be the symbol of a tribe, clan, family or individual. Native American tradition provides that each individual is connected with nine different animals that will accompany each person through life, acting as guides. Different animal guides come in and out of our lives depending on the direction that we are headed and the tasks that need to be completed along our journey.

Native beliefs further explain that a totem animal is one that is with you for life, both in the physical and spiritual world. Though people may identify with different animal guides throughout their lifetimes, it is this one totem animal that acts as the main guardian spirit. (more…)