Miller provides a look at an Indian village which illustrates the main requirements for an encampment. There are three primary needs that are necessary for a good camp: 1) a source of water for people and livestock; 2) plenty of feed for the horse herd; and 3) ample firewood for cooking and heating. Trapper Osborne noted a Bannock village consisting of 332 lodges, with an average of 6 people per tipi. Historians estimate there were generally 2-3 horses for each person in the village, for riding and packing, as well as specially trained horses for buffalo hunting, so the community described by Russell may have included several thousand horses. It is easy to imagine the amount of grazing land necessary for such a camp.
Warren Ferris described a Shoshone encampment he toured in August 1830;
Their village consisted of about one hundred and fifty lodges, and probably contained above four hundred fighting men. The lodges were placed quite close to each other, and taken together, had much the appearance of a military camp. I strolled through it with a friend, to gratify my curiosity, as to their domestic manners. We were obliged to carry clubs, to beat off the numerous dogs, that were constantly annoying us by barking, and trying to bite our legs. Crowds of dirty naked children followed us from lodge to lodge, at each of which were seen more or less filthy but industrious women, employed in dressing skins, cutting meat into thin strips for drying, gathering fuel, cooking, or otherwise engaged in domestic labour. At every lodge, was a rack or frame, constructed of poles tied together, forming a platform, covered over with half?dried meat, which was curing over a slow fire.
Lewis and Clark recorded that most of these buffalo hide tipis were 14 to 16 feet in diameter.
One of the best descriptions of a Sioux or Dakota tipi was penned by Prince Maximillian of Wied in 1833:
The lodges of these Indians are high, pointed cones of poles that are covered with hides drawn over them. These hides are scraped so thoroughly that they consist of a wholly transparent parchment, which serves superbly to let daylight in. On top where the poles join, the hut remains open to let out the smoke, for they can maintain only a small fire inside. Beside the lodges are poles and scaffolds from which hides hang, which they dry and tan; before the lodge there is usually a pole from which hang weapons such as lances, shields, war clubs and other implements.
Ferris, Warren, Life in the Rocky Mountains
Russell, Osborne, Journal of a Trapper