Margaret Sankey's Reviews > On the Origin of Tepees: The Evolution of Ideas

On the Origin of Tepees by Jonnie Hughes
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Oct 25, 11

Read in October, 2011

This is a charming and fascinating book, which hooked me from the first pages describing the "Maul" of America. British Hughes and his brother arrive in Minneapolis for a rental car trip across the great plains in search of tepees--Chippewa, Lakota, Cheyenne, Crow, four-poles models, three-pole model, different ties and smoke flaps and asymmetric quirks--and the geographic and geological changes in the land and animals the tepee makers used. Along the way, Hughes delivers smart asides on human evolution--biological and cultural, including the splitting of the Great Plains buffalo herd by the Transcontinental Railroad, rival methods of shoe-tying, the body language of French-Canadians viz a viz French-French people, the technological development of wheeled vehicles, the documented 1792 shift from buffalo-leap hunting to horse-mounted hunting, the creation and evolution of cowboy hats, mirror neurons, the contrasting behavior of Canadian and American border patrols, elephants and avoidance of land mines, mapping Native language families, the evolutionary group nature of barn-raisings lost to prefab plans and Deadwood as a microcosm of urban development.
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