A family on the Standing Buffalo Dakota First Nation watched the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championships from a unique venue, taking in the tournament from a tipi.

Holly Rae Yuzicapi set up the traditional Indigenous home earlier this year and thought it would be exciting to modernize it.


“I’m really a proud tipi owner, I want to maximize it as much as possible. I want to use it as often as possible because it’s meant to be put up and lived in. Bringing the T.V. in was kind of an experiment,” Yuzicapi explained.


Earlier this year, Yuzicapi bought her first tipi. In her culture, it’s the Dakota women who are responsible for the home.


“I wanted to be able to put up a tipi by myself. I’ve watched my brother put up tipis and I understand the concept. But having physical strength, I don’t know if I doubted myself. It looked heavy,” Yuzicapi said.


This summer, she put up the tipi by herself in 32 minutes. Yuzicapi filmed herself raising the tipi for the Glen Anaquod Memorial Tipi Raising Competition, where she won the women’s category competition.


“It was a fulfilling experience for me. My mom is a strong cultural advocate and to have that experience and do it at her house, to come in and tell her what I was able to do, she was proud of me. I was proud of myself,” Yuzicapi shared.


When winter came, Yuzicapi and her family had to come up with different ways to continue using the tipi.


Yuzicapi said they were able to winterize the tipi using blankets on the inside in addition to the traditional canvass to protect the tipi.


Holly Rae Yuzicapi winterized a tipi at her home on the Standing Buffalo First Nation (Gareth Dillistone / CTV NEWS)


“We often forget about that when we create spaces for events, that there’s a different kind of energy for it. Right now it’s a home and cozy energy. That’s what we need with the weather, with everything that’s going on,” Yuzicapi shared.


The television experiment worked for Yuzicapi, she also has a small wood-burning stove in the tipi. She says she wants to sleep in it one night. Yuzicapi is also excited for the start of the NHL season.


“Following the Indigenous hockey players in the NHL, I’m looking forward to that,” Yuzicapi said.