Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/820

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feet in diameter. To make one, a hollow space is excavated with sharp sticks and their hands, and the earth is banked up around the circumference until they have a bowl-shaped depression about a foot and a half deep. Around the edge of this, bushes or branches of trees are stuck, bent over and fastened together to form a round top. In winter it is thatched with grass, tide, or soap-weed, so that it will shed rain. An opening is left on one side, which serves as an outlet for smoke as well as a doorway. The fire is made just inside the opening. For a bed they break up the ground, let it dry, pick out the stones, and then spread down dry grass. Seeds, meat, buckskins, extra clothing, etc., are hung outside on upright poles. Formerly only a few huts were usually found together, and they were occupied by members of one family, as these people had to scatter over the country in small parties and move frequently in order to obtain a sufficient supply of food; but in seasons of plenty, villages of about one hundred souls would be formed, when the huts of each family were always built in a group by themselves."

As primitive as these dwellings now are, they were found to be somewhat more so by Lieutenant Whipple in 1853, and he reports that "an Apache wigwam is as rude, it is believed, as any race of human beings have been known to construct for abodes. These huts are usually isolated in some mountain gorge, near a rivulet or spring, and are composed of broken branches of trees. They are covered with weeds, grass, or earth, such as may be obtained most readily. A large flat or concave stone, upon which they grind corn or grass seed to flour, is the only utensil or article of furniture that they do not remove in their wanderings. Visits to the houses of Mexicans or their more enterprising Indian neighbors excite no desire to improve their condition by the erection of more comfortable habitations. Tents they do not use, even when robbed from Mexicans or some poor party of emigrants surprised and murdered. The Tontos, Yampais, and most of the Apache Indians within New Mexico and California are equally barbarous and rude in the construction of their habitations."

Those curious people, the Havesu-pai Indians, living in a great, deep canon in Arizona, also build lodges of rushes and limbs, but they are rather more substantial than those I have described for the Navajos and Apaches. This is due to the fact that they use rough timber uprights, and a few stout pieces for rafters. Their houses are also more commodious, although they rarely contain more than the one large living-room.[1]

  1. Shufeldt, R. W. Some Observations on the Havesu-pai Indians. Proceedings of the United States National Museum. Vol. xiv, pp. 387-390. Plates XXV and XXVI of this paper show the plans of the houses constructed by these Indians. Washington, 1891.