For over a century, the Northern Cheyenne dreamt of constructing a buffalo hide tipi. The last time such a tipi was constructed was about 1877 when herds of buffalo were on the verge of extinction and reservations were established. The dream of completing a hide tipi was realized August 21, 2014, when seven Cheyenne women from Chief Dull Knife College in Montana erected a buffalo hide tipi they helped complete.
The morning of June 11 began the task of tanning the first buffalo hide for a tipi under the direction of Larry Belitz. The hide was laced onto a frame so buffalo leg bone fleshers used by the workers could jab fat and meat from the skin. After the hide had dried to become stiff rawhide, the hair (wool) was scraped off using an elk horn scraper. The next day the rawhide was soaked in water to become pliable and buffalo brains were rubbed into the hide.
After brains had time to soak into the skin, holes were sewn with sinew and the hide laced again to a frame. The hide was pushed and staked to stretch the fibers so the skin would be soft and not stiff when completely dried.