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American Indian Film Gallery

Cultures of Apache tribes and Hopi tribes

Emalie Schaefer, Author

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Apache Dwellings

The Apache lived a seminomadic lifestyle and didn’t live in permanent structures.  A traditional Apache dwelling is called a “wickiup.”  Wickiups are dome-shaped structures built out of oak or willow poles, that are driven into the ground, tied together with strands of yucca and covered with brush usually bear grass, which is also bound in place with strands of yucca..  Wickiups are easy to construct and set up and also take down and carry the poles to their next camp. In cold weather, wickiups were covered with something heavier such as animal hides.  Apache women built the wickiups and were responsible for its maintenance.  They also made the furnishings for the home. 

The White Mountain Apache often had dwellings that were shaped like tents with two sloping sides, but were also constructed of poles and brush. In later times, cloth and canvas were used in addition to or replaced the natural building materials of poles and brush.  Other bands of Apache lived in teepes, such as the Kiowa-Apaches, Jicarillas, and some Chiricahuas.

Today, the Apache live in modern homes in permanent communities.

This Apache video from the American Indian Film Gallery mentions Wickiups, it starts at 1:05 into the video and ends at 1:29. (The Apache Indian.Video. Coronet Productions. American Indian Film Gallery. 1945, Medium.)

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