What Did the Modoc Indians Use to Make Their Houses?

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The Modoc Indians lived in homes made of willow poles and reeds during the summer and lodges covered with earth in the winter months. They also built sweathouses out of poles that were then covered with mats made of reeds.

The Modocs' summer houses were oval or rectangular, with a frame made of willow poles covered with three layers of brush and mats made of reeds. The willow poles were bound to a ridge pole along the top of the roof, and the smoke from the interior fires escaped along the ridge pole. The mats were sewn to direct rain away from the houses, and each mat was big enough to serve as the side of an entire house. The houses had a door at one of the short ends.

The winter lodges of the Modoc Indians were dug into the ground for extra warmth. The framework of the lodges was made of poles, typically willow. Just like the summer houses, the poles were covered with brush and reed mats, but on top of that was a thick layer of soil. The lodges had no doors. Instead, the Modocs entered them through a hole in the roof that also served to let smoke out of the lodge. The houses, which were about 40 feet long, stayed warm during the winter.