The Lighting of the Teepees: Beacons of Hope

The Pretty Shield Foundation has 16 teepees (lodges) in total, used primarily for its Two Worlds Cultural Immersion Camp.  The camps bring people together to build relationships, cultural teaching, self-awareness, environmental understanding, teamwork and much more in which individuals gain knowledge, skills, and a heart changing experience.  Most recently in December 2020 and January 2021, the teepees were on the Rims, above Billings, Montana for the purpose of bring hope and healing during the recent Covid 19 pandemic.  There were more than 120 poles lifted to the sky to form seven teepees, erected in the style of the Apsáalooke (Crow) people.


The Lighting of the Teepees: A Symbol of Hope

Teepees are constructed for an installation in honor of those who have died from COVID-19 and as a symbol of hope!

View the video, from our event on Peets Hill/Burke Park in Bozeman, MT in October 2021

What goes into the material for Lighting the Teepees:

  • The teepees are made from various gauges of canvas – Originally they were made from 4 to 6 buffalo hides.
  • The poles are from 25 foot Lodgepole Pine Trees which are debarked – Some of the poles are 1 year old and some are over 20 years old – A normal teepee uses anywhere from 15 to 19 poles per teepee and most poles are usually replaced within 4 to 6 years.
  • The stakes are made from cedar wood and are 12 to 18 inches long, however the stakes which are preferred are made from Chokecherry branches which are sometimes striped which represent a badger.  When the wind blows the stakes grab and represent the claws of a badger to hold tight.
  • The pins on the front of the teepee are various lengths but represent eagle claws holding the teepee together. Thus the strength of eagle claws.
  • The streamer’s on the top of the poles are not always used but in this instance they are used to keep the birds from landing on the lodges and doing their duty.  However, they are colored pink and were originally requested to always remember those dealing with the traumas and health issues of Cancer.
  • The lights can be in various colors and don’t necessarily represent one thing but are lighted to bring hope and love into the world. At times various colors care requested to represent health workers, law enforcement, various countries, Murdered, Missing Indigenous People (MMIP), Covid issues, etc.

Upcoming Events

Lighting of the Teepees

Lighting of the Teepees — an Era of Unity
August 1-7, 2023, Gardiner, MT

“Lighting of the Teepees in Yellowstone Park are symbols of a legacy and vision of my ancestors which is an inclusion of welcoming, belonging and building of relationships where mutual respect and honor is practiced and encouraged by all nations and races throughout the world.”
William Snell, Jr.
President PSF

The Pretty Shield Foundation continues the legacy of our ancestors by serving and encouraging First Nation People to walk a healthy pathway to reaching their highest potential.

(406) 861-6223