The last Native American dwelling we are going to look at in this series is the Igloo. It is found in the extreme north were temperatures are well below freezing. The igloo has been used by the Eskimos for centuries. The word itself is from the Inuit tongue meaning house.
An Igloo is a simple but interesting structure. The Igloo is made from blocks of snow that have been compressed and compacted. The blocks are cut with a large knife or saw and laid in a circular spiraled fashion to create a dome just like the wigwam. Sometime to make them more sturdy warm water is used to melt the top of the block to the bottoms of the next line of blocks to be laid. When the next layer is put on and the water freezes it acts as a weld or mortar.
It can be build very quickly and house one person or it can be built to house a whole family. Everything inside the igloo is made from snow, shelving for the walls, the bed area or the snow table to hold the oil lamp that is used to give off light and heat source. The igloo like all the other Native American dwelling has a smoke hole for ventilation. The entrance to the igloo is built at a lower level than the dome this is done to create a cold trap. Because warm air rises the long low tunnel type door keeps the heat from escaping. Since the igloo has a heat source there will be moisture that drips from the walls of the igloo, which is why they are covered or sealed with water proofing seal hides that act as an insulation barrier. Even though the cold is frigid the igloo keeps its occupancy comfortable and safe from the weather.
The Native American dwelling shows the desire and creativity of our Native American ancestors to survive and build a growing society. No matter what tribe of Native American they lived in harmony and peace with Mother Earth they shielded her, protected her and used what she gave them to live and survive under Father Sky.