Learn about the structure of the Brush Shelter with pictures and images together with facts and information about the tribes who used them, including the Shoshone, Ute and Washoe.
Brush Shelter Definition
What does the word Brush Shelter mean? Definition: A Brush Shelter is temporary, make-shift shelter that is fast to erect using raw materials that are readily available in the location. A brush shelter is very small, providing a place to sleep out of the cold night air and the elements ensuring survival without the risk of 'exposure'.
Why was the Brush shelter built as temporary protection?
Every tribe choose a type of housing to suit their lifestyle, the climate, the environment and the natural resources (known as biomes) that were available to them. The Brush Shelter was quick and easy to build making use of a variety of materials including trees, plants, leaves, saplings, branches, grasses and brush-land. These types of rough and ready homes were typically built to offer protection and a safe place to sleep on hunting trips and used in one form or another by the hunters of many Native American Indian tribes. A Lean-to was a similar type of temporary accommodation. The Great Plains tribes were the main exceptions, as they erected Tepees using the portable framework and tent covering from location to location. Some other tribes used Wickiups, but these took much longer to build and required an element of digging that was tiring and time consuming.
How was a Brush Shelter built?
The materials used to build a Brush Shelter were poles and long sticks covered in brush and secured with fiber. The picture shows a temporary hunting village consisting of brush shelters. Typical shelters were small, and intended for sleeping, people could not usually stand up straight inside. To make these types of shelters long, thin poles, or saplings (young trees) were gathered, cut to size and stripped of bark. The poles of the frame leaned against each other and were lashed together with tough fibers and bound together at the top. One side was left open as the entrance. The site chosen for the construction was flat and located near a fresh water supply whenever possible. Cooking was done outside, over a camp fire.
Brush Shelter Frame
Another construction method was build a simple frame and cover the framework with various materials such as branches, grass and leaves. Some brush shelters were lashed to trees.