HOUSING (continued) more  -->

What did their front doors look like?

Haida houses had elaborate totem poles attached to the front of the house, carved with animals that represented the clan that lived in the house. Some houses had a round or oval hole in the bottom of the front pole that served as the doorway. Others had the doorway to the side of the front pole.

The Haida believed that when a person walked through this doorway, he or she was protected from the outside world. The house that belonged to Chief Wiah, the chief of Masset which was a village on Haida Gwaii, had a front door that was made so that the person entering the house would have to stoop down low to get in. The entrance of this house was also slanted down into the house to make it harder for enemies to get in. Why do you think it would be harder for enemies to get in?

The front door of and igloo was an archway that was slanted down to the outside so that warm air could not escape. Why would warm air be less likely to escape if the doorway was angled down? Warm air rises. If the doorway was angled up or was level, the warm air would soar out into the open air. The doorway was also facing in the same direction that the wind was blowing. Why? Cold wind could blow into the igloo if the doorway faced toward the wind. This way the wind would blow right over the igloo and not into it.

Unlike the Haida house, there was nothing elaborate about the doorway of a Huron longhouse. They were rectangular frames that were covered by a sheet of bark or an animal hide.

Where did they sleep?

The Huron slept on platforms made from the same trees as the house. You can see examples of sleeping platforms in the pictures of the model to the left. Compartments or dividers were put up so each family's sleeping and living quarters were more private. Fur, hides, reed mats and sheets of bark were all materials that were used to cover the platforms to make them more comfortable and warm.

Haida people also slept on platforms made from cedar planks and, like the Huron, there were compartments for each family's living space. Haida also covered these platforms with fur and hides to make them more comfortable and warm during the winter months.
The Inuit slept on shelves made of hard packed snow. Fur and hides were laid on top of them so they would not be so cold and hard.

Where did they build these dwellings?

Igloos could be found in the Arctic region. Igloos were winter shelters that were built close to the hunting grounds. There are not too many other places in the world where you would be able to build a snow house and live in it. When it snows in Vancouver, British Columbia, a lot of children will make snow forts to play in. These, however do not last very long in the mild climate.

Haida houses could be found on Haida Gwaii, the Queen Charlotte Islands in British Columbia. The Queen Charlotte Islands are part of the region that is called the Northwest Coast. Haida houses were shelters built on the ocean. The Haida got most of their food from the water around them. They also had to make sure there was an accessible area of cedar trees to build the house with. In the summer they would take the planks off the house and move to a summer camp. There they would use the planks to build a summer dwelling.

Huron longhouses could be found in the areas around the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes, particularly Lake Huron. This area is called the Eastern Woodlands region of Canada. The Huron built their longhouses as year round dwellings. They had to be on good soil so that they could plant their crops. They also had to be in an area close to a secondary growth forest, a forest with young trees, so they had enough of the right size trees to build the houses. They were usually close to a water source like the St. Lawrence River or Lake Huron.

How long did they stay in the same place?

Igloos were usually temporary dwellings. The Inuit would follow move to follow the animals they hunted. Igloos only took a few hours to build. In the summer they would erect hide tents.

Haida houses were permanent dwellings. However, in the summer the Haida would take some of the planks from the house and move them to their summer camps to gather food for the winter months.

The Huron would stay in the same place until the soil used to grow their crops began to be depleted. Then they would move their fields to new areas. Sometimes they would move the whole village.