Grade 3 Indian Unit


Each culture area had their own type of home. Indians used the natural resources around them to make their homes. Natural resources are the things found in nature that people use. For instance, if they lived in or near the forests, they would use wood for their homes. This is why different cultures of Indians had different types of homes. Below are different types of Indian homes and descriptions of each.

The Indians in the Northwest Culture lived in wooden lodges. These buildings were rectangular buildings that each held several families. These buildings were built using a wooden frame. The frame was then covered with pieces of bark sewn together or wooden planks, or boards. The inside of the building had a pit in the middle which had a fire in it to be used for cooking. The families would share the fireplace in the middle. Outside of each wooden lodge was a totem pole. The totem pole was considered a very important part of the lodge. Some lodges even had totem poles decorated on the inside beams of their homes. Each lodge had a different totem pole.


The Indians of the California-Intermountain Culture lived in circular homes of arched poles covered with brush and mat. This type of home was used for a short time when the Indians were hunting. This type of home was called a wickiup or thatch home.

The Indians of the Southwest Culture lived in apartment-style buildings. These buildings were made of adobe, clay and vegetables dried in the sun. This type of home was especially good for areas that had very little rainfall and a hot desert climate. Many families lived in each apartment. As families grew, rooms were added on top of the rooms that were already there.

The tepee was the home of the Plains Indians. The frame of the tepee was made of long wooden poles pointed together and fastened at the top. The bottoms were spread out to form a circle. This was covered with a tent of animal skins which fastened to the ground. These Indians would often paint decorations on the outside of the teepee. The Plains Indians would have a fireplace inside the tepee. This form of home could quickly be taken down when the Plains Indians moved to follow the buffalo.



The homes of the Eastern Woodland Indians were called longhouses. Like the homes of the Northwest Culture, these were rectangular homes with barrel shaped roofs. As their name states, these homes were very long. The outsides of these homes were made of wooden frames with bark sewn together to cover them. Families shared these homes also. The insides had a long hallway with rooms for each family on each side. There were low platforms for the families to sleep on, and higher platforms for storing goods, baskets, and pelts.



Native Americans

The Northwest Culture

The Five Cultures

The California-Intermountain Culture

Indian Shelters

The Plains Culture

Indian Legends and Links

The Southwest Culture


The Woodlands Culture