Homes:The people of the Plateau had three basic needs for shelter. They needed a warm place for the winter months. They needed a semi-temporary place to use for seasonal hunting, fishing, and gathering sites. They needed a temporary shelter for short trips for collecting certain items.
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Winter Homes/Pit-Houses: They had well established winter villages built on the banks of a major waterway.Homes were built partially underground. Some were little round houses with dirt roofs.Some were long lodges. They were both pit-houses.
To build a pit-house, first you dug a pit about six feet deep. Some pit-houses were built for a small family group and perhaps were only 20 feet in diameter. But some were much larger - as much as 60 feet wide and 100 feet long.The small ones were usually oval in shape. The large ones were usually rectangular. But construction of all pit-houses started by digging a pit that was the outline of the house.
Once you had dug the pit, next you piled up rocks to make walls. Then you added some wooden posts to support a roof. Roofs were made of everything from planks to woven reeds. (Baskets and mats were also made out of reeds.)
Interior of homes and lodges:The interior of the lodge was divided into compartments down each side, with an open living section down the middle, which was used as a passageway and as a place for winter campfires.There were two families for each fire, one on either side. There were one or more holes in the roof to allow the smoke to escape. A wooden ladder was placed at one end of the house to get in and out. There was very little furniture. Mats were used as rugs and beds. Baskets were used to store clothing and a few personal goods.
Possessions: You might read on the web that the Plateau Native Americans spent their winters bragging about their wealth. This is not so; just the opposite actually. The Northwest Coastal Native Americans bragged about their wealth. But the Plateau Inland Native Americans, unlike the Northwest Coastal Native Americans, valued talent and knowledge above wealth.People did have personal possessions, but they were few in number.Everyone had the necessities of life.
The summer house was built to last several seasons. It was usually a lean to or a teepee. The ones used at fishing camps were the best built. When they found a good fishing hole, they came back to the same place year after year.
The temporary shelters were frames covered with brush or bark. When the Plateau Native Americans met the Plains Native Americans they adopted the Plains method of dragging their temporary structure behind the horses, and covered these teepees with buffalo hides.
The Tule Mat Lodge
Return to the People of the Plateau for Kids (main index)
Geography and Map of the Plateau Indian Tribes
Native American Games & Activities
Native American Stories, Myths and Legends
Native Americans for Kids
Native Americans in US, Canada, and the Far North
Early people of North America (during the ice age 40,000 years ago)
Northeast Woodland Tribes and Nations - The Northeast Woodlands include all five great lakes as well as the Finger Lakes and the Saint Lawrence River. Come explore the 3 sisters, longhouses, village life, the League of Nations, sacred trees, snowsnake games, wampum, the arrowmaker, dream catchers, night messages, the game of sep and more. Special Sections: Iroquois Nation, Ojibwa/Chippewa, The Lenape Indians. Read two myths: Wise Owl and The Invisible Warrior.
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Southeast Woodland Tribes and Nations - The Indians of the Southeast were considered members of the Woodland Indians. The people believed in many deities, and prayed in song and dance for guidance. Explore the darkening land, battle techniques, clans and marriage, law and order, and more. Travel the Trail of Tears. Meet the Muscogee (Creek), Chickasaw, Choctaw, Mississippians, Seminole Indians and Cherokee Indians.
Plains Indians - What was life like in what is now the Great Plains region of the United States? Some tribes wandered the plains in search of foods. Others settled down and grew crops. They spoke different languages. Why was the buffalo so important? What different did horses make? What was coup counting? Who was Clever Coyote? Meet the Blackfoot, Cheyenne, Comanche, Pawnee, and Sioux Nation.
Southwest Indians - Pueblo is not the name of a tribe. It is a Spanish word for village. The Pueblo People are the decedents of the Anasazi People. The Navajo and the Apache arrived in the southwest in the 1300s. They both raided the peaceful Pueblo tribes for food and other goods. Who were the Devil Dancers? Why are blue stones important? What is a wickiup? Who was Child of Water?
Pacific Coastal Northwest Indians - What made some of the Pacific Northwest Indian tribes "rich" in ancient times? Why were woven mats so important? How did totem poles get started? What was life like in the longhouse? What were money blankets and coppers? How did the fur trade work? How didRaven Steal Crow's Potlatch?
Inland Plateau People - About 10,000 years ago, different tribes of Indians settled in the Northwest Inland Plateau region of the United States and Canada, located between two huge mountain ranges - the Rockies and the Cascades. The Plateau stretches from BC British Columbia all the way down to nearly Texas. Each village was independent, and each had a democratic system of government. They were deeply religious and believed spirits could be found everything - in both living and non-living things. Meet the Nez Perce
California Indians - The Far West was a land of great diversity. Death Valley and Mount Whitney are the highest and lowest points in the United States. They are within sight of each other. Tribes living in what would become California were as different as their landscape.
Native Americans of the Far North: What trick did the Kutchin people use to catch their enemies? How did these early people stop ghosts from entering their homes? Why was the shaman so powerful? What is a finger mask? Play games! See and hear an old Inuit myth! Enter the mystical world of the people who lived in the far north in olden times. Algonquian/Cree, Athapascan/Kutchin, Central Canada, Inuit, The Shaman