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.
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.
You might read
on the web that the Plateau Indians spent their winters bragging about their
wealth. This is not so; just the opposite actually. The Northwest Coastal
Indians bragged about their wealth. But the Plateau Inland Indians, unlike the
Northwest Coastal Indians, 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 Indians met the Plains Indians
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)
Map of the Plateau Indian Tribes
American Games & Activities
Stories, Myths and Legends
Native American Index
- Coast to Coast
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:
The Lenape Indians. Read two
myths: Wise Owl and
The Invisible Warrior.
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.
Indians and Cherokee
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
was the buffalo so important? What different did horses make?
What was coup counting? Who was
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
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 did
Raven Steal Crow's
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
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.