Shelter and Dress
Native Americans' adaptations to their regional environments are readily illustrated by different materials used to construct shelters or in the garments they wore. Using a piece of poster paper, make an enlarged copy of the map showing the "North American Indians as Witnessed by Edward S. Curtis". Next, locate the following photographs of dwellings and read the captions provided by Curtis:
- The mat house of the Skokomish on Puget Sound in the Pacific Northwest
- The Hopi community house at Walpi
- A Cree tipi at Lac les Isles, Manitoba, Canada
- A Wichita grass house in the Southern Plains
- A Nimkish village at Alert Bay, British Columbia
Print out a copy of each photograph and mount it on the enlarged map in the appropriate location. Think about the climate and vegetation in the locations where you have placed the photographs.
- What accounts for the differences in construction?
- Which of the shelters appears to be more permanent? Why might shelters in some locations be more permanent than in others?
- What can you infer about the peoples who resided in these shelters?
Conduct a similar exercise to learn about the differences in clothing worn by women and men of different Indian cultures. Links to photographs illustrating clothing are provided in the "Basic Clothing" section of the subject index.
What materials were used in making this child's clothing? Where do you think the Flatheads lived?