Cherokee architecture - Native Americans
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Cherokee Architecture

Cherokee Winter House
Replica of Cherokee winter house

September 2016 - Most people who lived in the Cherokee nation lived in houses that were just for one family. These houses were usually circular. They were made of tree branches bent into a circular shape and then plastered with mud (the frame was a lot like the frame of a Ute wickiup, but these were different because they were covered with mud and partly sunk into the ground like Pueblo pit houses). These houses usually had a stone hearth in the middle for a fire to cook on and to keep the house warm.

Some Cherokee people lived in different houses in the summer. The summer houses were bigger, because you didn't have to keep them warm, and they had more windows. Sometimes several related families lived together in the summer house, as you do when your family rents a house at the beach in the summer.

Cherokee summer house
Replica of Cherokee summer house

Cherokee towns all had a meeting house or council house as well as people's own houses. The meeting house was also round, with a big hearth in the middle, but it was much bigger than ordinary houses. These meeting houses were often built on top of earth mounds.

Cherokee towns also had solid fortification walls around them built of thick logs placed upright next to each other all the way around the village, with a wooden walkway at the top that men could walk around on to shoot arrows out at their attackers.

Learn by doing: build a model of a Cherokee house
Cherokee architecture after Europeans invaded
More about the Cherokee people

Bibliography and further reading about Cherokee architecture:

Cherokee architecture after Europeans came
More about the Cherokee
Native American architecture
Native Americans
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Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter.
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