Native American Houses

Native Americans lived in a variety of houses. The type of Native American Houses a tribe lived in depended on the location of the tribe and its lifestyle. The tribes which hunted bison, for example, lived in houses which could be quickly built and easily disassembled when required.

This was simply because they had to move around often in pursuit of bison herds. Other tribes, such as the ones who used farming for their food needs, lived in one place and constructed more permanent houses.

1) Kiich Houses

Kiich houses were the type of houses built by the Yuma and Serrano Native American tribes. These tribes lived in the California region and built the Kiich houses for winter living.

They made these houses by erecting wooden poles and then covering these poles with woven mats. The houses were rectangular in shape and made to ward off extreme heat or cold.

For this purpose, a two-foot foundation was laid into the ground on which the Kiich houses were built. Each house measured around 12 feet to 14 feet in both width and length.

2) Igloo

Igloo was the type of house popularly built by the Inuit tribes in the Alaskan region. These houses were usually built from blocks of snow. The snow trapped the heat inside, allowing Inuit people to live inside these houses and be safe from the cold outside.

An igloo was built by cutting and carving blocks of ice so that the larger blocks were at the bottom and smaller ones at the top. The completed home looked like a dome. Inside the igloo, the Inuit built small benches from snow blocks which they would use for sleeping.


3) Native American Houses – Pit House

Pit house was a type of underground house that was built by some Native American tribes as their winter dwelling. This kind of house was built by digging a deep and large hole in the ground.

A framework of logs was then used to construct the roof and the support for the roof. The roof was then covered with brush, sticks, grass and earth.

A small hole was left in the roof so that the smoke produced from cooking could escape. A hatch was also left in the roof so that people could enter and leave the pit house using a ladder

4) Earth Lodge

Earth lodges were built by many Native American tribes living on the western plains. These tribes included the Pawnee, Omaha, Mandan and Osage.

The earth lodges were built in a circular dome-like shape. A framework of wooden logs was used to create the structure of the earth lodge. This framework was then covered with branches and packed with mud.

The completed earth lodge was a large and strong structure. It was so strong that people often climbed on rooftops to see in the distance.

5) Native American Houses – Teepees

Teepees were popularly built by the hunting Native American tribes in the Plains region. These tribes hunted bison and had to move with the bison herd in order to follow the animals.

So they lived in teepees which were temporary houses. Teepees looked like inverted cones and comprised of a few wooden poles lashed together and covered with bison hide.

Native American Houses Fast Facts

  • Native American Tribes who hunted lived in Houses that could be easily erected quickly.
  • Native American tribes live in different houses depending on their lifestyle.
  • Teepees were one of the more popular Native American Houses built by the hunting Native American tribes in the Plains region.

Native American Homes: From Longhouses to Wigwams (Native American Cultures) Paperback – January 15, 2018

Wigwams, Longhouses and Other Native American Dwellings (Dover History Coloring Book) Paperback – April 2, 2004