Wickiups - Ute houses - Native American houses
Welcome to Quatr.us Study Guides!

Wickiups

Old wikiup

September 2016 - Most people who belonged to the Ute group of Native Americans lived in what is now Utah and Colorado, in the high western plains and in the Rocky Mountains. They built wooden houses called wickiups.

You build a wickiup by cutting down young willow trees (saplings). You need about thirty of them. Then you strip off all the small branches (but save them). You stick the poles into small holes in the ground in a circle so they will stand up. Then you bend over the poles in pairs (across the circle from each other) and tie the tops together with thin strips of bark or leather. When you have all the poles tied together you attach branches horizontally all the way around. Then you cover the whole thing with the small branches, cotton blankets, leather skins, big leaves, long grass, or anything else you have handy.

Modern wikiup

Wickiups (WICK-ee-ups) were not meant to live in like your house today. They're more like the way you use your tent when you go camping. You keep your stuff inside, and you sleep in there sometimes (especially if it looks like rain), but otherwise you spend most of your time outside - you cook outside, and you play outside, and you go to the bathroom outside (privately, away from other people), and sometimes you sleep outside.
But sometimes people did build fires inside their wickiup, to keep warm. People built fires on the ground in a circle of stones, and sometimes had a large flat stone in front of the fire like a hearth. They brought piles of juniper tree bark inside the wickiup to use as beds.

When Ute people were traveling around gathering food, they sometimes made a simple shelter to get out of the sun or the wind by just breaking a tree branch partway through and bending it down to the ground. They also built platforms in trees like your treehouse to store food on or to use as lookout posts.

Learn by doing: building a wickiup
More about the early Ute people

Bibliography and further reading about wickiups:

More about Ute people
Navajo architecture
Native American architecture
Native Americans
Quatr.us home


Please help other teachers and students find us: link to this page from your class page.
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, Pinterest, or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
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, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
Sign up for more free articles and special offers in Quatr.us' weekly newsletter:
We will never share your e-mail address unless you allow us to do so. View our privacy policy. Easy unsubscribe links are provided in every email.
Check out our new ebook: Short and Simple: Ancient Greek Myths! - just out! Twenty-five easy to read, illustrated stories, from Pandora to Medea, Icarus, and the Trojan Horse (you can read these online as samples). Get it this week for just $14.99, five dollars off the regular price of $19.99.
Cite this page
  • Author: K.E. Carr
  • Title:
  • Site Name: Quatr.us Study Guides
  • Publisher: Quatr.us
  • Date Published:
Did you find what you needed? Ask your teacher to link to this page so other people can use it too! Send it in and win a Quatr.us "Great Page!" award!
Sign up for more free articles and special offers in Quatr.us' weekly newsletter:
We will never share your e-mail address unless you allow us to do so. View our privacy policy. Easy unsubscribe links are provided in every email.
Comment on This Article
Quatr.us is loading comments...
(Comments will appear after moderation, if they are kind and helpful. Feel free to ask questions, and we'll try to answer them.)
Cite this page
  • Carr, K.E. . Quatr.us Study Guides, . Web. 26 June, 2017
ADVERTISEMENT