Lincoln police, the city and Occupy Lincoln have smoothed over concerns about an 18-foot tipi erected at the encampment on Centennial Mall last week.

On Saturday, police asked for it to be taken down because they didn't want it to blow over on someone during the gusty weekend.

Police Chief Jim Peschong said he was concerned because of the size.

"We'd hate to have the large wooden poles crash onto a pedestrian or another tent," he said.

The three groups met for a half hour Monday, and Occupy Lincoln assured officials the tipi is safe because it is anchored in the middle and the canvas is staked down.

"It's impossible to tip that cone over," said owner Bill Hawkins, who has set up his tipi at the Nebraska State Fair, schools and other community events. "These things survived prairie winters and plains winds for hundreds of years."

Hawkins said all parties have been cooperative.

The city is checking to see if the tipi needs a different kind of permit because it is so large, said City Attorney Rod Confer.

Hawkins said he wanted to bring the tipi to Occupy Lincoln because of the symbolism that represents Natives, who were the first group of oppressed people in America.

Charlotte Knoflicek, a member of the Lakota tribe and Occupy Lincoln, agrees.

"The tipi reminds me of the importance of speech for oral cultures, which traditionally have been indigenous cultures," Knoflicek said. "It also reminds me of the importance of speech for democracy. Speech is a mystical thing. It is a way we have to let the land and the spirit of the people be heard."

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​Reach Jordan Pascale at 402-473-7120, jpascale@journalstar.com or follow him @LJSPascale.


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