If you were nomadic would you want something that was permanent and heavy, or lightweight and mobile? The Sioux Indians used the second choice and made buffalo skin tipis for their shelters. Some of the materials used were poles, stakes; tanned buffalo hide in a cone shaped design. An entire Sioux village could be packed up in an hour. The tipis were originally about twelve feet high but when the Sioux started using horses, they became twice as tall. The reason tipis were used instead of houses were the Sioux needed something not hard to make and easy to pack-up, and tipis granted them that.