Native American Houses

Sioux Tepees

An illustrated guide to Native American Houses and homes of various Indian tribes with pictures and videos. The Native American Houses homes and shelters section includes interesting Facts and information about Tepees, Wigwams, Brush shelters, Wickiups and Chickees. Their Way of Life living in Earthen houses, Hogans, Pit Houses, Longhouses, Adobes, Pueblos, Wattle & Daub homes, Grass houses and Plank Houses.

Native American Houses, Homes and Shelters
A comprehensive and illustrated guide to Native American Houses and the culture of the Native American and the indigenous people of North America. All of our articles are accompanied by pictures, paintings - all bringing the Native American Houses to life and enabling a better understanding of the lifestyle  (way of life) and the homes and shelters that the Native Indians lived in. The picture to right illustrates a Kiowa Tepee, one of the most famous of the Native American houses and homes.

Native Houses: Tepees & Wigwams
Tepees are pointed tent-like American Indian houses, not to be confused with Wigwams, which are small rounded cone shaped structures with an arched roof made of wooden frames that are covered with woven mats and sheets of birch bark which are held in place by ropes or strips of wood.

Chippewa Wigwam

Native American Houses
The pictures of Native Americans in this section provide an opportunity to study the differences between the  homes and shelters used by the different tribes of Native Americans. There are pictures, paintings, images and photographs of all the different types of Native American Houses.

Native American Houses, Homes and Shelters
Cedar Bark TepeeWetuLonghouse
Kiich HouseBrush shelterLean-to
BarabaraEarth LodgeHogan
IglooSweat LodgeSod Houses
Cliff HousesMound BuildersWattle and Daub Houses
Tule Mat LodgeGrass houses'Beehive' Grass House
Kiva Medicine LodgeChickee (Stilt Houses)
Pit HousePlank HouseAdobe House (Pueblos)
 American Indian Dwellings 

Native American Houses: Misnomers
Over the years colonists, travellers, traders, pioneers, artists and early archaeologists and historians have applied various English names to the homes, and houses built by Native American Indians. The same names were used to describe completely completely different structures, regardless of the tribes who lived in them, locations and the materials used to build them. In the not too distant past, the word 'wigwam' was regularly used to describe all Native Indian homes, regardless of structure, location or cultural group. Other early writers described structures as simply 'houses' or 'tents'. Many of the misrepresentations and misnomers continue to this day, which makes the study of the Native American houses and homes so difficult. Our articles on Native American Houses and homes use the names most commonly used to describe these historic structures and we have added as many pictures and descriptions as possible to help the reader.



Overview: Style and Design of Native American Houses
The style and design of the Native American Indian houses was determined by the climate, the environment and the natural resources (known as biomes) that were available to them. Each of the articles provides a definition and summary together with an overview of the materials used to construct the houses, the size of the shelters and how they were built.

List of Native American Houses, Homes and Shelters
The list of different types of Native American homes and shelters included tepees, wigwams, brush shelters, wickiups, chickees (stilt houses), earthen houses, hogans, earth lodges, pit houses, longhouses, adobe houses, pueblos, asi wattle and daub, grass houses, tule lodges, beehive thatched houses, kiich and plankhouses. The most ancient of the Native American civilisations also include the houses of homes of the indigenous people referred to as cliff dwellers and mound builders.

List of Native American Houses, Homes and Shelters

  • Tepees - The buffalo hide covered tents built by the tribes of the Great Plains
  • Wigwams aka Birchbark houses - Cone shaped shelters built by Northeast, Eastern Woodlands tribes
  • Chickees aka Stilt Houses or Platform Houses built by the Seminoles in Florida
  • Wickiups - Dome-shaped brush shelters built by Great Basin tribes such as the Paiute, Goshute and Washoe
  • Tule Mat Lodges - Tepee and dome-shaped lodges of the Plateau tribes with coverings consisting of woven tule mats
  • Earth Lodges - Built on the grass covered prairies of the western plains by tribes such as the Mandan and Pawnee
  • Hogans - Constructed by the Navajo Native Indian tribe
  • Longhouses - Bark covered long house built by Northeast Woodland tribes such as those in the Iroquois Confederacy
  • Cedar Bark Tepees - Shelters build by California tribes tribes such as the Maidu, Miwok and the Southern Yana
  • Grass Houses - Built by the California tribes such as the Chumash and Wintun
  • Kiich House - Yuma and Serrano tribes of the California cultural group
  • Adobe House (Pueblos) - Houses built with mud bricks by Southwest tribes including the Pueblo, Zuni and Hopi
  • Wattle and Daub houses - Built by Southeast tribes including the Cherokee and the Creeks
  • Plank house - Built by the Pacific Northwest coast, Sub-Arctic tribes such as the Chinook, Tlingit and Clatsop tribes
  • Lean-to: Temporary shelters used by various tribes tribes
  • Brush Shelters - a form of make-shift shelter used for sleeping  and protection from the elements
  • Pit Houses - built by most of the Indian tribes of the Plateau cultural Group and also by some of the Californian tribes
  • Redwood Plankhouse with ramadas - California tribes such as the Mojave and Yurok
  • Igloos - The famous snow houses built by Arctic tribes
  • Barabaras - the partially underground house style built by the Aleut
  • Beehive Grass Thatched Houses - Built by the Southeastern Caddo, Witchita and Yucci Tribes
  • Sod Houses - Developed from earthen houses by American Homesteaders

List of Native American Houses, Homes and Shelters


Native American Houses

  • Native American Homes for kids
  • Native American homes and shelters
  • Interesting Facts and information about Tepees, Wigwams, Brush shelters, Wickiups and Chickees
  • Adobe houses, Pueblos, Wattle and Daub homes, Grass houses and Plankhouses
  • Homework resource about Native American homes for kids, students and teachers


Wichita lodge grass house

Picture of a Wichita Beehive grass house

Native American Houses
The life styles of Native Americans ranged from nomadic, semi-nomadic to static and their homes reflected their way of life. The massive area of the United States incorporates many different types of climate and land and the Native American houses, homes and shelters were dictated by the natural raw materials available to the Indians in the areas they inhabited.

The weather and the changing seasons also affected their way of life at different times of the year. The Native American houses and homes therefore included a huge variety of different styles. The Native American Indians who lived on the borders of the State often reflected two different types of houses, shelters and homes which suited their lifestyles which changed according to area and season.



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