When you drive through the city of Medicine Hat in east-central Alberta, you’ll encounter an enormous steel structure on the western outskirts of the city. This is the Saamis Teepee, the city’s most prominent landmark. At 65.5 meters high, the Saamis Teepee is the tallest teepee in the world (about as tall as a 20 story building).
Originally built for the 1988 Winter Olympics, it was erected in McMahon Stadium in Calgary where it housed the Olympic Flame during the games. After the Olympics, the teepee was subsequently moved to Medicine Hat and erected here in 1991 due to the generosity and ingenuity of Amerigo (Rick) Filanti.
The Saamis teepee now stands on the edge of an old Blackfoot buffalo jump (place natives used to chase buffalo off a cliff, killing or incapaciting them). The place is rich in native archaeological findings and history, and is known as the Seven Persons Creek Coulee.
Inside the teepee there are 10 circular paintings that depict the history and culture of the native Plains peoples. Each painting has descriptions and explanations. They are also massive and many are beautiful and captivating.
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