American Indian Dwellings

American Indian Dwellings - Chippewa Wigwam

American Indian Dwellings

Facts and history of the life and lifestyles of Native American Indians. There were many different types of American Indian Dwellings. The dwellings were designed to suit the lifestyle of each tribe and were built from the natural resources found in each of the tribe's locations.

The climate and temperature also played an important factor in the homes of the tribes and many of the people built different styles of dwellings and shelters to suit both the summer and winter months. The most famous and iconic American Indian Dwellings were undoubtedly the tepee and the wigwam. However, there were many other designs of dwellings which are all detailed in the fact sheet.

Native American Life - American Indian Dwellings
The life, history and lifestyle of Native American Indians is a varied and fascinating subject. The following fact sheet contains interesting facts and information on American Indian Dwellings. The names and types of dwellings included the Tepees, Wigwams, Wickiups, Cedar Bark Tepees, Wetus, Longhouses, Kiich Houses, Brush shelters, Lean-tos, Barabaras, Earth Lodges, Hogans, Igloos, Sod Houses, Cliff Houses, Mounds, Wattle and Daub Houses, Tule Mat Lodges, Grass houses, 'Beehive' Grass Houses, Chickee (Stilt Houses), Pit Houses, Plank Houses and Adobe Houses (Pueblos). For specific information about each type of these homes and dwellings refer to the section on Native American Houses.

American Indian Dwellings Fact Sheet for kids

  • American Indian Dwellings Fact 1: The summer and winter homes built by the tribes were highly practical and built not only to provide shelter from the elements but also to accommodate the lifestyles of the tribes.
  • American Indian Dwellings Fact 2: The summer months were traditionally spent hunting for food and the tribes needed temporary shelters that could be quickly built and dismantled
  • American Indian Dwellings Fact 3: The winter homes and dwellings were more permanent structures, often built in large villages and designed to keep the people safe and warm
  • American Indian Dwellings Fact 4: The permanent dwellings were also built by the agricultural tribes who farmed and raised crops such as corn, beans and squash. Such villages were built in locations that provided fresh water supplies and in close proximity to the fields
  • American Indian Dwellings Fact 5: The villages of many types of permanent dwellings, notably the Longhouses were surrounded by stockades (fences) that provide protection against attacks by enemy tribes
  • American Indian Dwellings Fact 6: The different styles and designs of dwellings were constructed using a variety of natural resources such as animal hides, birch bark, timber, reeds and rushes, tule mats made from (Southern Bulrush), Cattail or Giant Wild Rye, brush and wattle and daub.
  • American Indian Dwellings Fact 7: The tribes of the Great Basin such as the Paiute, Washoe and Goshute lived in Dome-shaped brush shelters called Wickiups
  • American Indian Dwellings Fact 8: The Southwest Indian Indian Tribes, like the Hopi and the Pueblo lived in mud brick houses known as Adobes.
  • American Indian Dwellings Fact 9: The Navajo tribe lived in Hogans that were built using the timber from pinon trees and covered with earth or reeds

Forked Sick and Round Hogans

  • American Indian Dwellings Fact 10: Northwest Pacific Coast Indian Tribes lived in the timber constructions known as Plank Houses. The plank houses built by the Chinook, Tlingit, Bella Coola, Tsimshian and the Coast Salish were adorned with totem poles and paintings that illustrated the clan and history of the inhabitants
  • American Indian Dwellings Fact 11: Plateau Indian tribes such as the Coeur d'Alene, Nez Perce and Spokane lived in Tule Mat Lodges other Plateau tribes lived in Pit Houses
  • American Indian Dwellings Fact 12: The Arctic tribes like the Inuit used blocks of ice to build their homes, commonly known as igloos. The Aleut tribe lived in semi-subterranean timber houses called Barabaras
  • American Indian Dwellings Fact 13: Earth Lodges were built on the western plains by tribes such as the Pawnee and the Mandan
  • American Indian Dwellings Fact 14: Californian tribes such as the the Mojave and Yurok built Plankhouses constructed with timer from the redwoods. Other tribes who inhabited California like the Chumash and the Wintun lived in Grass Houses
  • American Indian Dwellings Fact 15: The tribes who inhabited the Northeast Woodlands, such as the Iroquois, Powhatan, Abenaki and the Mohawks lived in Longhouses
  • American Indian Dwellings Fact 16: The Southeast Indian Tribes including the Caddo and Witchita lived in distinctive grass thatched dwellings that resembled beehives. Other Southeast tribes like the Creeks and the Cherokee lived in Wattle and Daub houses
  • American Indian Dwellings Fact 17: The Seminole tribe who inhabited the swamplands and everglades of Florida lived in dwellings and houses built on stilts, known as Chickees
  • American Indian Dwellings Fact 18: The Great Plains tribes, such as the Blackfoot, Sioux and the Cheyenne, lived in the most famous of all the dwellings called tepees. Tepees were tent like homes that were built using long wooden poles that were covered with animal skins such as buffalo hides
  • American Indian Dwellings Fact 19: The name Tepee' derives from the Siouan word 'thipi' meaning "dwelling, house". The Iowa tribe of the Great Plain called their tepees 'chakiruthan' meaning "house-tied-together", referring to the lashing of the framework around the tepee
  • American Indian Dwellings Fact 20: Temporary Brush shelters or simple lean-to constructions were built by many of the tribes as they were fast to erect
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