By Caitlin Cioce, Colleen Burns, Alyssa Wortman, and Ahmed Rezeq
Where They Lived
Unlike many other Indian tribes , the Lenape Indians did not live in teepees. Instead, they lived in round houses called wigwams or longer houses called longhouses. A wigwam was more of a single family house that was covered with bark and grass. A longhouse was more of a community house that help 25-30 families. Each village community contained a series of longhouses; sweat lodges, which were used as stem baths to aid in treating disease; and a rectangular council house.
Not all Native Americans lived in teepees. The Lenape lived in wigwams. In a wigwam, a single family lived. It was small with an opening in the front to enter and leave. In here, the family cooked, slept, and lived. They were not very big and could not hold many people. The structure of a wigwam was rounded. This helped it to withstand harsher conditions. A wigwam was 8 to 10 feet tall. They were made of frames of young trees covered with woven mats and bark.
How to Make a Wigwam Step 1 To build a wigwam, the people cut down young trees called saplings. They trimmed off the branches. Then they dug holes in the ground. They put saplings in the holes. This held the saplings in place. Step 2 They bent the saplings over, then lashed them together with cords, vines or animal skins. This made a frame for the wigwam. Step 3 Finally, they covered the frame with bark or mats made of grasses and reeds. They left a door and a hole in the top, so the smoke from the fire could escape.
A longhouse is much like a wigwam, only it is much larger and longer. Several families lived in the longhouse. It had bunks along the sides. Each family had a fire pit to cook food and provide heat in the winter.
A longhouse is used mostly in the colder months. It is still rounded on top, but longer. Inside the longhouse, there are platforms on either side that could be used as seats of beds. The fire pits run down the center of the longhouse. Openings in the roof would let smoke out. Corn and herbs were hung high in the roof and there was room to store other goods beside the doorway.
How to Build a Longhouse Step 1 First stakes are places in the ground. Then storage pits are dug in the ground. They leave a space for an entrance in the Longhouse. The Longhouse was 60 feet long and 25 feet wide. Step 2 Saplings were attached to the stakes. They were bent over and weaved together. They were covered with bark. Step 3 Sleeping platforms are added. Storage shelves, fire pits, and hooks are added. The storage pits are filled with food and covered with bark.
The Lenape also used lean-tos. These are a woven platform attached to a bark roof. The Lenape used these shelters when traveling or in the summer. They were able to be outside, yet were also able to keep away from the weather.
The Lenape-Delaware Indian Heritage 10,000 BC to ad2000 by Herbert C. Kraft