What Are Some Facts About the Housing Used by Shoshone Native Americans?

Features of Shoshone housing included versatility, ease of creation and a temporary or portable nature. This latter feature was a result of the nomadic lifestyle followed by the Shoshone prior to the influx of white Americans. More than one type of housing was used by the Shoshone during various periods and in various locations. Most notably, the Western Shoshones used grass huts, while the Eastern and Northern Shoshones used tepees.

Grass huts were used mainly in summer by a range of Shoshone groups, but the Western tribes made the most use of them. These dwellings were built on a seasonal basis and were not transported when the group moved on. Because they were made of vegetable material only, they rotted away easily over time and had little impact on the land. Natural caves were also used as temporary dwelling places for the Shoshone.

Many Shoshone family groups constructed more permanent homes with buffalo hides, known as tepees. These were constructed around 20 to 25 long poles and allowed room for movement as well as a place for a hearth. Household items were hung inside the tepee from the poles, with bedding and similar furnishings placed directly on the ground. These dwellings were very portable, so they were dismantled and moved whenever the group moved to new hunting or foraging grounds.