SEPTEMBER 12, 1991


Now named the Saamis Tepee, this work of public art, located in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada, was installed in 1991 south of the Trans-Canada Highway and at the edge of the Blackfoot buffalo jump, above the Saamis Archeological Site along Seven Persons Creek.  Commissioned for the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary as a symbol of Canada’s Plains Indians, it initially stood 215 ft (66 m) high and is 160 ft (49 m) in diameter at the base.  The sculpture was designed by Steve Illes of steel and concrete.  The teepee was painted “white for purity, red for the rising and setting sun, and blue for flowing waters.”  Within it are 10 circles, with painted illustrations expressing ideas about the cultures of the Plains tribes with explanation on plaques at the base.  During a severe windstorm in January 2007, a portion of the teepee was damaged.  As extensive weathering had weakened the structure, the repairs lowered the structure by approximately 15 ft (4.6 m).

Source:  Jacquie D. Durand, “Witness the world’s tallest tepee,”, 1/14/2017.  Retrieved 1/7/2021, “Saamis Tepee,” Canada.  Retrieved 1/7/2021, “Medicine Hat,” Wikipedia
Photo:  Ken Eckert, 7/1996.  Permissive Use. 

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