Topic: Houses

Yuchi Indians Homes

As the native methods of house building have nearly all passed out of use some time ago, we have to depend upon descriptions from memory supplemented by observations made in the ceremonial camp where temporary shelters are made which preserve old methods of construction. The dwelling house of the present-day Yuchi is like that of the ordinary white settler: a structure of squared or round notched logs, with a peak roof of home-made shingles and a door on one side. Windows may be present or not, according to the whim of the owner. The same is true of the...

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Houses of the Pawnee Tribe

Soon after the transfer of Louisiana to the United States Government several expeditions were sent out to explore the newly acquired domains and to discover the native tribes who claimed and occupied parts of the vast territory. Of these parties, that led by Capts. Lewis and Clark was the most important, but of great interest was the second expedition under command of Lieut. Z. M. Pike, which traversed the country extending from the Mississippi to the Rocky Mountains, and reached the Pawnee villages near the North Platte during the month of September, 1806. How long the Pawnee had occupied...

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Houses of the Ponca Tribe

That the Ponca and Omaha were formerly a single tribe is accepted without question, and that the separation took place long after they crossed the Mississippi from their ancient habitat is established by the traditions of the two tribes. Probably the two tribes in later years, after the separation, continued to resemble one another to such a degree that the, villages of one could not have been distinguished from those of the other. A deserted village of the Ponca was discovered by members of the Lewis and Clark expedition in 1804, and according to the narrative of the expedition on...

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Kansas Lodge

The Kansas had confused and indefinite conceptions of the future life. Mr. Say, of Long’s Expedition, secured from members of the tribe information on this point from which he wrote the following: The lodge in which we reside is larger than any other in the town, and being that of the grand chief, it serves as a council house for the nation. The roof is supported by two series of pillars, or rough vertical posts, forked at the top for the reception of the transverse connecting piece of each series; twelve of these pillars form the outer series, placed in a circle; and eight longer ones, the inner series, also describing a circle; the outer wall, or rude frame-work, placed at a proper distance from the exterior series of pillars, is five or six feet high. Poles, as thick as the leg at the base, rest with their butts upon the wall, extending on the cross-pieces, which are upheld by the pillars of the two series, and are of sufficient length to reach nearly to the summit. These poles are very numerous, and agreeably to the position which we have indicated, they are placed all around in a radiating manner, and support the roof like rafters. Across these are laid long and slender sticks or twigs, attached parallel to each other by means of bark cord; these are covered...

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Ethnological Information Regarding the Cusabo

Ethnological information regarding the Cusabo is scanty and unsatisfactory, the interest of the colonists having been quickly attracted to those great tribes lying inland which they called “nations.” Such material as is to be had must be interpreted in the light of the fuller information to be gathered from larger southern tribes like the Creeks, Cherokee, Choctaw, and Chickasaw. Nevertheless it is of interest to know that certain features of the lives of these peoples were or were not shared by the ones better known. The material gathered by the Spaniards as a result of the Ayllon expedition has been given in connection with the account of that venture, and will not be considered again. The region to which it applies is too uncertain to consider it definitely under this head. From the time of the French settlement in 1562, however, we have a sufficiently clear localization, from the French, Spanish, and English narratives successively. The greater part of our information comes, however, from the French and English, the Spaniards not having been interested in the people among whom they came or not having published those papers which contained accounts of them. The following general description of the appearance of the natives, and their mental and moral characteristics, is from Alexander Hewat. It does not apply to the Cusabo alone, but Hewat was probably better acquainted with them than...

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The Teepee

Hollywood has taught us much during the 100+ years of making Westerns. Everyone now knows that the Lakota (Sioux) invented the teepee and that all teepee’s are made of buffalo hides. By the time that the White Man arrived, the Sioux invention had spread throughout the continent. Those Indians, who didn’t have teepee’s or ride horses all the time, were too poor to even own a teepee, so they had no homes at all. Did you ever notice that until the filming of the beautiful movie, “The New World,” there were very, very few movies which portrayed non-Plains Indians...

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Navajo Hogan

They call themselves the Diné With over 300,000 persons claiming Diné heritage, they are the second largest Native American tribe in the United States. Dené is the name they call themselves. It means “the people.” Their Hopi neighbors called them the Navajo, which means “many farmers.” The Spanish started using this name, and so like many other Native American tribes, they became known by the name others called them. It might surprise many non-Diné to learn that the ancestors of this enormous tribe originated in the sub-arctic region of Canada. Like the Apaches, they are Athabaskans. At some time...

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Eastern Woodland Wigwam

Although as was discussed in an earlier article on the Apache wickiup, some indigenous tribes still lived in very primitive shelters up until the late 1800s, most had long developed larger, sturdier houses that could be heated in the winter. One of the most common types of native houses in the Midwest and New England was the wigwam. It had obviously evolved from the wickiup type shelter, but was far more spacious and durable. A buffalo or bear skin door could seal the opening to block cold winds and rains. It was large enough for occupants to stand or...

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Basket House of the South Atlantic Coast

When the Spanish arrived on the coast of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, they observed small houses near the beaches which were woven like baskets. In, what is now South Carolina and Georgia, these “basket houses” were only used in the warm months as fishing camps. However, the Tequesta People living in the coastal areas of far southeastern Florida lived in them year round. The houses were literally woven from dry palmetto fronds like they were over-sized baskets. They functioned much like a screened porch today – air could circulate, but insects and rain drops couldn’’t penetrate the walls....

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Apache Wickiup

During the late 1800s, certain bands of the Apache Indians of Arizona and New Mexico were able to tie down large numbers of United States and Mexican soldiers while living in the most primitive of dwellings – the wickiup. What is particularly interesting about their huts is that its appearance was probably identical to the housing used by most Native Americans 5000 years ago. In fact, the indigenous people of New England were still living in very similar huts when the Pilgrims arrived on the Mayflower. One can not imagine how cold those huts were in the winter. Unlike...

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Choctaw Houses

The primitive habitations of the Choctaw who lived on the north shore of Pontchartrain are described as having been of two types, circular and rectangular. The frames were formed of small saplings; the tops and sides were constructed of palmetto thatch. 1A house of this kind is pictured in plate 3, from a photograph taken near Mandeville, St. Tammany parish, about 1879, which was secured by the late Dr. A. S. Gatschet. The palmetto house is said to have been in use within the last ten years. According to the present inhabitants, many of the circular houses were large,...

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