ELKO — In honor of National Native American Month the Great Basin College Indigenous Student Association put on an educational event Monday in the Leonard Center for Student Learning.
“The Great Basin Native Americans were exquisitely adapted to this environment,” said anthropology instructor and Indigenous Student Association adviser Laurie Walsh. “We wanted to show the public that despite change this culture is surviving.”
The day featured a teepee setup, Indian taco sale, native plant usage lecture, basket making demonstrations, and traditional artwork.
Association members and area elders joined in putting together the festivities celebrating their culture. Spring Creek Elementary students visited the college to learn more about Native American lifestyles. GBC students, faculty, and the public came in and out throughout the day, learning the ways and skills of the original Great Basin people.
Shawn Collins set up a large teepee with the help of several other people. His teepee is made from canvas but its structure is just like that used in the past. The Native people lashed the poles together with leather ties to keep the shelter intact.
“This is a four-pole based Shoshone teepee,” he explained.
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The Shoshone people of Idaho had access to bison and made their teepees from cured skins. These hides were thinned down to make them lighter to carry. They were water tight to keep out moisture.
“There is even evidence that some Shoshone here used teepees,” said Collins. “There is a picture at the museum of teepees set up on the Humboldt River.
No buffalo roamed this region but it is likely that the hides were obtained by trading with tribes farther north.