Native American longhouses were commonly used by tribes in the northern United States as protection from the elements. Native Americans built longhouse frames with wooden poles bound together by leather straps and then covered the frames with bark or animal hides.
Multiple families divided the living space inside a longhouse. There was little privacy inside longhouses, but the communal culture was necessary for survival. During the cold winter months, tribe members spent most of their time inside the longhouse, which had enough space for tool making and cooking, as well as sleeping. Holes in the roof allowed smoke from cooking and warming fires to escape.