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Tipi Information and Teacher Reservations

Tipi at Middle School West


As you drive by Middle School West you will notice a 26 foot Dakota-style tipi (teepee, tepee) erected by the northeast corner of the school. The tipi was donated by the STMA American Indian Parent Advisory Committee (AIPAC), and it was crafted by Nomadic Tipi Makers. It will serve as a “living artifact” classroom for STMA students studying the cultural heritage of the Dakota people in their sixth grade Social Studies classes per Minnesota state standards. It will also serve as a place for STMA American Indian students and their families to gather for events.

The tipi was erected on Saturday, April 30, 2022 and a celebration ceremony featuring the rich cultural history of the Dakota tribes was held following the tipi raising. The ceremony was educational as well as festive. It featured the Spirit Boy Drum Group, singers, and grass, buckskin, jingle, and fancy dancers. The significance of the tipi, drum, songs, and various styles of dance were explained.

The State of Minnesota requires all school districts with ten or more American Indian students to have an AIPAC. District’s with twenty or more students receive Indian Education Aid and the AIPAC oversees the use of these funds. STMA qualifies for and receives those funds. The STMA AIPAC chose to use a portion of the funds to provide the tipi as a “living artifact” classroom for all STMA students to learn about the heritage of the people who lived and continue to live in our geographic area.

The tipi was featured in the local newspaper on May 19, 2022. Click here to view the article.

Teacher Reservations & Guidelines for Use

  • Students must be supervised while in the tipi and following the behavior expectations.

  • Students must be participating in a learning activity while in the tipi.

  • Reserve the use of the tipi by contacting Priscilla DeSpiegelaere through email ( or phone (ext. 5300).

  • The tipi key can be picked up from and returned to Priscilla DeSpiegelaere in the District Office.

  • Student/Teacher questions can be submitted to the STMA AIPAC through Teri Johnson (

  • Reservations may be postponed or canceled due to weather conditions.

Questions are welcomed and encouraged!

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