The homes or shelters of the Nēhiyaw (Cree), Blackfoot, Blood, Peigan, Assiniboine, Stoney and Métis were known as Tipis and constructed using the long straight trunks of Lodge Pole Pines found in the Northern Boreal forests.



The Nēhiyaw (Cree), Blackfoot, Blood, Peigan, Assiniboine, Stoney and Métis were nomadic people who travelled across the great plains of Canada.  They followed the buffalo, their main food source, to hunt animals for food, skins and furs, as well as, gather medicinal plants, berries, roots and grains. Their homes or shelters were known as Tipi; the coverings were made from buffalo skins and were sometimes decorated using dyes made from plants, animal blood or ground up minerals made into paint. Students decorate their own scale replica tipi covering using traditional symbols of land, plants and animals on recycled canvas or vinyl.  Take this art project back to school to display, or students may choose to form their very own 3D replica model of a tipi using their embellished covering.

Learning outcomes:

Students will:

  • Learn how and why tipis were made using natural materials commonly found across the great plains of Canada
  • Examine photographs of both historical and contemporary tipi designs before planning and painting symbolic imagery that best expresses their own interpretations of home

Teachers can later challenge their students to construct a village of personal tipis in the classroom using recycled and reused objects. 

Curriculum Links:

First Nations, Métis and Inuit: Indigenous identities, connections, expressions, preservation, protocol, Elder and Knowledge Keeper oral histories and land-based learning.

Art: Develop realistic treatments and refine forms.

Social: Alberta’s geography, history and culture, Canada’s geography.

Science: Plant parts and their function, forests and trees, night sky.

Math: pattern, repetition, and symmetry.

Suggested field trips to pair with:

The Tipi as Home at the Musée Héritage Museum

In-School Field Trip:

Due to the amount of supplies required for our Indigenous Visual Art programs, we require you to book two or three classes of the same program on the same day.

Kindly email or call 780 459 1163 for more information regarding booking an in-school field trip.

Preparation for In-School Field Trip:

We require a large room with paper-covered tables and access to a sink for the whole day if offering more than one in-school field trip in a day.  Your instructor will arrive 30 minutes early to set up the room and prepare for the field trip start time indicated on your confirmation letter.  Parent volunteers are required to assist instructors with handing out supplies and clean up.

In-School Fees:

  • $8.75 per student (minimum class fee of $140 based on 16 students)
  • Added travel fee of $60.00 for St. Albert and $90.00 for Edmonton (Please request a quote for all outlying areas)

Studio Fees:

  • $8.75 per student (minimum class fee of $140 based on 16 students)


We’ll send an invoice to your school within one month—please don’t bring your payment to the workshop.

Please make cheques payable to Arts and Heritage St. Albert. Include invoice numbers and mail to:
Arts and Heritage St. Albert, Suite #200
20 Perron Street
St. Albert, AB  T8N 1E4

For account inquiries, contact us at 780-459-1163 or

Information and Policies



Total Time

1.5 hours


Grade 4, Grade 5, Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8, Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12

Curriculum Link

Art, Creative Expression, Cultural, First Nations, Métis, Inuit, math, Science, Social Studies


In-school field trip, Visual Arts Studios, St. Albert Place