Q:

What types of structures did the Makah tribe typically use for shelter?

A:

Quick Answer

The Makah tribe typically used long, narrow single-room buildings, called longhouses, for shelter. Each of the Makah tribe's five permanent villages, called Waatch, Sooes, Deah, Ozette and Bahaada, had multiple longhouses. The Makah used cedar planks from western red cedar trees to construct the longhouses, which were typically about 30 feet wide and 70 feet long.

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Full Answer

Each longhouse was home to several generations of Makah family and extended family. While the Makah stayed in their permanent villages during the winter, they traveled to camps closer to the water during the summer. Since the Makah fished and whaled for most of their food, they'd spend the summer gathering seafood. They then dried and smoked the seafood before storing it for the winter.

The Makah divided their longhouses into multiple living areas, and each had a cooking hearth. The walls and roofs were entirely cedar planks without any windows. Instead, the Makah removed or moved planks as necessary for ventilation and lighting.

Benches were the typical furniture in a longhouse. The Makah used benches as work platforms and rolled mats onto them to use them as beds. The Makah stored items underneath benches, along the walls and in corners. Makah stored their work equipment in their homes; the longhouses in Ozette Village, which was preserved by a mudslide, all had equipment and tools relating to certain professions.

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