Teepee, Longhouse, and Pueblo Homes
Native Americans for Kids
Native American Teepee
Teepees were the homes of the nomadic tribes of the Great Plains. A teepee was built using a number of long poles as the frame. The poles were tied together at the top and spread out at the bottom to make an upside down cone shape. Then the outside was wrapped with a large covering made of buffalo hide.
When the tribe arrived at a new spot, the woman of each family would set up and build the teepee. Building a teepee was very efficient and typically only took around 30 minutes to set up.
In the summer the covering would be raised to allow for a large gap at the bottom. This gap enabled cool air to flow through the teepee and keep the inside cooled.
In the winter additional coverings and insulation such as grass were used to help keep the teepee warm. In the center of the teepee, a fire would be built. There was a hole at the top to let out the smoke. The Plains Indians also used buffalo hides for their beds and blankets to keep their homes warm.
Native American Longhouse
The longhouse was a type of home built by the American Indians in the Northeast, particularly those of the Iroquois nation. Another name for the Iroquois was Haudenosaunee which meant "People of the Longhouses".
Longhouses were permanent homes built from wood and bark. They get their name because they were built in the shape of a long rectangle. Usually they were around 80 feet long and 18 feet wide. They had holes in the roof to allow for the smoke from fires to escape and a door at each end.
To build the longhouse home, tall poles from trees were used to frame in the sides. At the top the natives used curved poles to build the roof. The roof and sides were then covered with overlapping pieces of bark, like shingles. This helped to keep the rain and wind out of their homes.
A large village would have several longhouses built inside a wooden fence called a palisade. Each longhouse was home to a number of people in a group called a clan. Perhaps 20 people or more called a single longhouse home.
Native American Pueblo
The pueblo was a type of home built by American Indians in the Southwest, especially the Hopi tribe. They were permanent shelters that were sometimes part of large villages that housed hundreds to thousands of people. Often they were built inside caves or on the sides of large cliffs.
Pueblo homes were built of bricks made from adobe clay. The bricks were made by mixing clay, sand, grass, and straw together and then setting them in the sun to harden. Once the bricks were hard, they would be used to build walls which were then covered with more clay to fill in the gaps. To keep the walls of their homes strong, every year a new layer of clay would be placed on the walls.
A pueblo home was made up of a number of clay rooms built on top of each other. Sometimes they were built as high as 4 or 5 stories tall. Each room got smaller the higher the pueblo was built. Ladders were used to climb between the floors. At night they would remove the ladders to keep others from coming into their house.
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