A story in the New York Daily News over the weekend entitled "Hip households in New York are installing tepees as places of play and reflection" documented the phenomenon of indoor tepees, which are "taking off in New York."
The story highlights tepees built by young urban parents in their homes in Brooklyn, as well as one belonging to a young woman who enjoys sitting inside it and writing poetry. Also mentioned are a couple of tepees built to add ambience to commercial spaces in Manhattan. But the Daily News article doesn't forget to give some cultural context: "Of course, Brooklyn hipsters didn’t invent tepees, and their significance in Native American culture can’t be ignored" it says, then goes on to quote Ines Hernandez-Avila, Native American Studies department chair at the University of California, Davis.
Her view: "It's a really strange thing to do."
And New Yorkers wonder why the rest of the country hates them sometimes. But it makes us wonder—when enough Brooklyn hipsters do something to justify articles in the local press, are we deeper into the trend than we might have imagined? Have we arrived at, or passed, the tepee tipping point?
Whatever the case, we're bracing for tepee mania. Here's a quick look at what's already out there:
The Brooklyn Indoor Tepee
A Tepee for your Special Day
Tepee for Squeamish Parents
The Pee-pee Teepee. This product claims it's "for the sprinkling wee-wee"—although, let's face it, wee-wees have been sprinkling since the dawn of time. This is not a new problem. A parent who carries around a sack of these felt cones to avoid contact with baby pee—as if that were even possible—is kind of a wimp.
With canvas panels and birch poles, CatTipi is the fancy tepee for cats. Much fancier than the cardboard cat tepee. Although you just have to wonder: Does a cat in a tepee—even a very smart cat—know he's in a tepee? With no sense of human culture or history (much less cultural appropriation), this furry fella might be just as happy in a cardboard box that says "SEARS" on the side.
Tepee in Denial
This tepee is designed by Cath Kidston and sold by Free People, and curiously described as a "retro inspired tent." Looks like a tepee-inspired tepee to us, but what do we know. Wait a minute, Free People… why is that name familiar? Oh, right—it's a sub-brand of Urban Outfitters, the company that got in trouble for selling Indian-ish things as Indian. No wonder this tepee wants to be a "retro inspired tent."
It's cool, Mr. Te—er, Mr. Retro Inspired Tent, your secret is safe with us.
Tepee with Crudeetees
We have to hand it to the food blogger at RookNo17—making a tepee out of a quesadilla and carrots is pretty clever. But without the Li'l Red Sambo figure (really?) we might not have recognized them as tepees.
This isn't your typical tepee interior—for starters, it's in Portugal. This picture comes from Tipi Algarve, a resort where visitors pay to stay in gussied-up tepees, safari tents, and yurts. This is the interior of the Buddha Tipi, which can be yours for about $500/week. It's all part of a trend in vacationing called "glamping"—glamorous camping. (Yes, this is a real thing—visit glamping.com for a wide selection of high-end getaways featuring huts, treehouses, and eco-pods.)
We found these Ice Cream Cone Tepees at Quick Dish, and they look delicious! They don't really look like tepees, but your stomach doesn't really care. (Note: they are filled with cake, not ice cream.)