In this issue
The first thing you'll now notice when you open the door to our Visitor Center is the real buffalo hide tipi set up right in the middle of our museum! The tipi and accoutrements were constructed by Larry Belitz, an internationally renowned expert on tipis and Plains Indian crafts. Outside of Fort Laramie, Belitz's work can be seen in many museums and films, including the Smithsonian Institution and "Dances With Wolves". He was also adopted over 40 years ago by an Indian family, so he knows his stuff!
When he came to deliver the tipi and set it up, he spent the day in front of about a half a dozen mesmerized staff at the Fort Laramie National Historic Site, explaining how each of the items he made was constructed and used by the Native Americans. Wow! What a vast amount of knowledge Larry has on Native Americans and how great it was to sit and listen to him!!
The Native Americans wasted nothing of the buffalo's carcass. Every single part became something they used in their daily lives-- the bladder was used as a canteen to store water and the stomach was used to cook a soup and then the stomach was eaten (Larry said it was a delicacy- yum!). Our tipi was constructed using 8-1/2 female buffalo hides and inside the tipi are many of the items that would have been in a Native American's tipi. Larry told us that the tipis were constructed, set-up and owned by the woman.As you can see from the picture, it took quite a few men and women to set ours up. Make plans now to stop by and see for yourself what living in a tipi is all about!!
We've had a couple snows blanket Fort Laramie this season, but it was so cold I neglected to take any pictures. With all the snow and cold weather around the country, most might be longing for Spring, but it's still fun to make snowflakes! Check out this website where you can digitally make your own snowflakes and look at snowflakes others around the world have made. If you find some that you really like, you can even print them out!
If you're more into creating snowflakes with paper and scissors, here's some step-by-step instructions to create your own blizzard with paper!
Wilson A. Bentley was the first person to photograph a snowflake in 1885. During his lifetime he photographed more than 5000 snowflakes and he didn't find any two that were alike! To learn more about "The Snowflake Man", check out this website
It's that time of year-- our memberships run from January through December, so it's time to get your 2010 Fort Laramie Historical Association Membership or you might consider joining if you're not a member yet. As a member you get 15% off all purchases at our Bookstore/Giftshop and 10% off at other cooperating association bookstores. Check out all the info here.