Travel Alberta

Heritage Park Receives Painted Tipi

On Friday, a rare tipi transfer ceremony took place at Heritage Park Historical Village. The Park received a tipi design, in transfer from Louis Soop, Piipiakihtsipiimi, respected elder of the Kainai Nation, along with his wife, Abby Soop, Matoiyohkomiaakii.


A tipi design must come from a dream, or be transferred from two people to a man and a women, in a formal, sacred and spiritual ceremony. Kainai elder Ray Black Plume performed the ceremony, which included a prayer ceremony, Blackfoot naming ceremony, tipi transfer ceremony and a face painting ceremony, followed by a traditional feast. Heritage Park’s Public Programming Coordinator Ellen Gasser and Heritage Park Society Vice President Joe Anderson accepted the design, and responsibility for it, on behalf of the Park.


Heritage Park has been growing its Aboriginal Program for eight years. The First Nations Encampment shares the stories and the culture of the Blackfoot people, and the addition of a painted tipi allows the Park to share with guests the meaning and significance of painted tipis, as well as the stories associated with this one in particular.


“This is a really big honour and a big responsibility,” says Ellen Gasser, on receiving the design.  “Our Aboriginal program allows us to build bridges between people who know very little about the Blackfoot people or culture. It is an opportunity to share how incredible that culture is, how rich, how honourable.”


The Yellow Otter Tipi is traditional in design and has been in Louis Soop’s family for generations. The bottom skirt, or base area, symbolizes the earth’s surface and our connection with Mother Earth. This area features circles on it, which represent fallen stars, while the top of the border represents hills. The upper section represents the future and spirit world, Father Sky, and features two constellations. The middle of the tipi represents our physical world, and is yellow with otters and one rainbow. The back features a cross, which symbolizes that the design came to the owner through a dream, and a painted door, for the otter to enter the tipi.


Visitors to Heritage Park can view the tipi this weekend and then again in May, 2015 when the Historical Village re-opens for the summer season.

All Media Enquiries contact:
Barb Munro, Communications Specialist
Heritage Park Historical Village
Phone: 403-268-8506

Heritage Park Historical Village