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Not Just Teepees

Native Americans have always been ingenious when it came to their dwellings.

Various native tribes developed homes depending on their environment, lifestyle, and available materials.

A Lipan Apache camp in the Texas Hill Country, artist George Nelson, University of Texas Institute for Texan Cultures at San Antonio

Plains Indians moved across the Great Plains following migrating herds of buffalo and used buffalo hide coverings for their teepees. For these nomadic tribes, teepees were easy to put together and take down. Other tribes that were involved in farming built more permanent homes, such as the following:


The Chinook have resided along the Lower and Middle Columbia Rivers in what is now Washington and Oregon. They resided in plank houses made of flat planks of cedar, where as many as 50 people or more related through extended kinship lived together. Plankhouses have been built in the area for at least 3,000 years.


For the Navajo Indians, the hogan was the traditional and ceremonial dwelling. Early hogans were made of logs, tree bark, and mud. The doorway of each hogan opened to the east to welcome the rising sun for good wealth and fortune. Except for a circular opening in the roof to allow smoke to escape, traditional hogans lacked windows. Usually, a group of four or five family hogans would be constructed close together, often housing extended family members.

Wattle and Daub

Mississippians used Wattle and Daub houses. These dwellings were made by weaving rivercane, wood, and vines into a frame, then coating the frame with plaster. The roofs were thatched with grass.

Works cited:

“Navajo Homes – Hogans.”,

USA, Spirit of. “Navajo National Monument.” Spirit of USA,

“Wattle and Daub Houses | Indian Mounds.” PBS LearningMedia,


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