Tipi Stays is a Lakota youth-led social enterprise of the native non-profit, Lakota Youth Development. Tipi Stays invites visitors from all over the world to experience the homelands of the Sicangu Lakota people as they connect to Grandmother Earth on the prairies of South Dakota. Guests can experience Lakota culture in the heart of the Rosebud Reservation and enjoy Lakota Activities during their Tipi Stay. Cultural and recreational activities deepen cultural understanding of the Lakota people, their traditions, and the beautiful lands they call home.
The Lewis and Clark expedition met the Teton Sioux (Lakota) near modern-day Pierre, South Dakota, in September 1804. President Jefferson had charged the Corps with Indian diplomacy, which consisted mainly of announcing the Louisiana Purchase and presenting tribal chiefs with peace medals and American flags. The meeting with the Teton Sioux was tense, as the Tribe mistook the explorers for merchants and did not like the idea of the Americans selling weapons to rival tribes up the Missouri River. After three restless days at the Teton Sioux village, the upriver journey of Lewis and Clark’s was allowed to proceed.
Today, in these same lands, the Lakota people invite visitors to Tipi Stays to enjoy a respite from large city sounds and lights and experience serenity on the prairie. Well-marked signage leads hikers to a quiet valley full of wildlife, bird watching and minimal light pollution for fantastic star gazing.
Visitors have the option of staying in a canvas tipi, a bunkhouse, or camp out within the ten-acre cultural campus. The campus is located forty minutes west of the Missouri River and twenty minutes north of the Niobrara River.
The area’s rich history can be learned through guided hikes, herb walks, horseback riding, traditional storytelling, star knowledge, and traditional song and dance performances. Interact with knowledgeable staff and elders that offer storytelling, creating traditional arts, and outdoor activities. Visitors can also just relax by the water or rent a canoe or fishing equipment.
Tipi Stays also supports Lakota tribal youth as they develop skills in cultural heritage tourism. Young social entrepreneurs attend trainings in a wide array of areas, such as website development, customer service, and product development, as they receive opportunities to gain real-world experience in the field. In addition to entrepreneurial trainings, “Youth Rise” apprenticeships provide youth the ability to build job skills as they grow into self-sufficient adults with a strong sense of their Lakota identities.
All profits from Tipi Stays go to support Lakota youth trainings and apprenticeships.