How Did the Cahuilla Build Houses?


Quick Answer

The Cahuilla, an American Indian tribe native to Southern California, built their houses by first constructing a wooden frame and then covering it with reeds and brush. The houses were either rectangular or dome-shaped. The domed houses were known as kish.

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Full Answer

The Cahuilla used wooden poles and plant brush as raw materials to build their shelters. They stuck the poles or branches in a line on the ground to form the frame and topped it with a ridge pole. They then attached some more poles to the ridge and bent them to form a foundation for the back and side walls. Finally, they covered the poles with reeds or palm fronds to form the walls and roof, using rope made from plant fibers to hold the structure together.

The Cahuilla builders sometimes left the front opening of the house uncovered and occasionally packed some earth against the outside walls for protection from the elements. They built only one room, which they used mostly to sleep in, and usually added a hearth or fire pit in the center of the floor. Sometimes they added a shaded roof, ramada or arbor to the side of the house to protect them from the sun while they socialized or worked on crafts.

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