DC Cultural Resource Circle needs $900 to finish off tipi

July 20, 2018   ·   0 Comments

By Mike Pickford

The Dufferin County Cultural Resource Circle (DCCRC) finally has a tipi (teepeee) it can call its own.

Meeting with the Citizen last week, the organization’s Executive Director, Debbie Sipkema, shared her excitement at having secured the funds to kick-start construction of a brand new 36-foot structure. Put together by her husband, Gil Sipkema, the foundation of the tipi has been completed. Now, DCCRC needs around $900 to finish it off.

“It’s going to be beautiful. What an amazing way to celebrate our upcoming 5th anniversary. This is one of many big projects we have on the horizon, but it’s very exciting to have our own traditional tipi,” Ms. Sipkema said.

The tipi is made up of 13 eastern white cedar poles and will be coated with a waterproof material, meaning it will stand up to even the harshest elements during the summer and fall months. Typically, these structures cost in the region of $5,000 to put together, but Ms. Sipkema noted the group was able to do it for a fraction of that cost, thanks in large part to community donations and in-house work.

Ms. Sipkema noted the tipi would be used extensively by DCCRC upon completion. It will be featured at next year’s Aboriginal Day celebrations, while Debbie is hoping it will be finished in time to show off at the grand opening for the aboriginal medicine wheel, which will be a feature of Bravery Park on the Alder Recreation Centre grounds.

“We’re primarily going to use this tipi as a teaching tool. Right now we don’t have too many safe places to store some of our artefacts, so we’ll be coming up with ways to position them and show them off inside the tipi,” Ms. Sipkema said. “We want this to be used by everybody, to be seen by everybody. We’ll be bringing the tipi to many events across the community.”

Erected atop the tipi will be a traditional indigenous Unity Flag. Mr. Sipkema noted that flag represents that we are all one people, working together towards the same common goal.

The structure is currently resting in the couple’s backyard at their home in Orangeville. There, it will sit until work on it has been completed. It took approximately two weeks to get the frame in place.

“This is huge for the Dufferin County Cultural Resource Circle. We’ve made some great progress in this community over the past four years, culminating in the release of our Mino Bima Diziwan Needs Assessment report,” Ms. Sipkema said. “This is just another way to bring forward to indigenous community in our community.”

For more information on the DCCRC, visit

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