Tipi Etiquette


Last Updated: 11 years

If the door is open, a friend may enter the tipi directly. But if it is closed, he should announce his presence and wait for the owner to invite him to come in. 


A male enters to the right and waits for the host to invite him to sit to the left of the owner at the rear.

Be hospitable.

Always assume your guest is tired, cold, and hungry.

Always give your guest the place of honor in the lodge and at the feast, and serve him in reasonable ways.

Invited guests are expected to bring their own bowls and spoons.

Never sit while your guests stand.

Woman never sit cross-legged like men. They can sit on their heels or with their legs to one side.

If your guests refuses certain foods, say nothing. He may be under vow.

Protect your guest as one of the family.

Do not trouble your guest with many questions about himself. He will tell you what he wants you to know.

In another man’s lodge, follow his customs-not your own.

Never worry your host with your troubles.

Always repay calls of courtesy. Do not delay.

Give your host a little present upon leaving. Little presents are little courtesies and never offend.

Say “thank you” for every gift, however small.

Compliment, even if you must strain the facts to do so. However, it is rude to talk during a meal. Save your compliments for when you are leaving.

Never complement your host’s posessions directly, for he then may feel obligated to give the object to you.

Never walk between persons who are talking.

Never interrupt persons talking.

Always give place to your seniors in entering or leaving the lodge, or anywhere.

Never sit while your seniors stand.

Never force your conversations on anyone.

Speak softly, especially before your elders, or in the presence of strangers.

Never come between anyone and the fire.

Do not stare at strangers. Drop your eyes if they stare hard at you; above all for women.

The women of the lodge are the keepers of the fire, but the men should help with the heavier sticks.

Be kind and generous with those less fortunate.

Show respect to all men and women, but grovel to none.

Let silence be your motto, until duty bids you to speak. Pause to gather your thoughts before speaking. Never speak in haste.

Thank the Great Spirit for every meal.