Located a short walk across the creek from the cabins, within a ring of tall Fir, Larch, and Aspen trees, is the teepee encampment. The encampment consists of three large teepees, each over 22 feet in diameter, and one smaller teepee, all set up to reflect a living medicine wheel circle around a central communal fire pit. The three large teepees stand in the open meadow, one in each cardinal direction of south, north, and east. The smaller teepee stands in the trees to the west—in keeping with the medicine wheel teachings. A path connects all teepees to each other and the central fire pit. The east and west teepees are decorated with all natural fir-bough floors and traditional furnishings, while the north and south teepees are decorated with wood-platform floors and carpet for those guests with modern preferences. The teepees are all made locally by First Nations teepee makers, and will surprise you with their comfort and efficiency. Many traditional teachings go hand-in-hand with these teepees, which also affords guests who are staying in one with not only an alternative to the cabins, but an incredible learning experience. The teepees are ideal for group and family bookings, especially school groups, youth groups, and participants in one of our nature-based education, arts, or culture experiences. The encampment itself is frequently the setting for various natural craft, inter-cultural, and wilderness skills opportunities at the Wilderness Centre. Most importantly, their respectful use honors the many traditions of the cultures of the region, for who the teepees were, and often still are, a fundamental part of life, including the Ktunaxa (Kootenay), Blackfoot, Cree, and Nakoda peoples(take a virtual tour here).
A short walk through the trees from the teepee encampment is the longhouse cook tent. It is often used for outdoor fire-cooked meals, and communal gatherings during various nature-based education, arts, and skills experiences. Many First Nations people across Canada use longhouses for many aspects of their culture and ways of life—including the Kootenay peoples of this land—and the respectful use of this building honors these nature-based traditions, while also providing a living location for inter-cultural sharing. The longhouse is ideal for out-cooking over a fire if you are self-catering and staying in a teepee. It is also ideal for school groups, youth groups, not-for-profit societies, and general participants in a nature-based education or wilderness skills experience(take a virtual tour here).