Plateau Lodges


Kootenai Pithouse
Pithouse construction
Pithouse construction


Kootenai Lean-to

Nez Perce conical-style temporary lodge


Tule Mate

Tule Josiah Pinkham discusses the use of the tule reeds for ceremonial mats and the construction of lodges.

Kootenai conical-style tule-mat lodge.   Traditional Schitsu'umsh was a three-pole, 15-30 diameter.  Tules (bulrush - Scirpus acutus) were a perfect material for mats and lodge covers, growing up to 10 feet in length in along river beds and marshy lake-areas.  They were a perfect material for the changing seasons.  When wet, the tules would expand, sealing out moisture.  When hot, the tules would allow a cooling breeze into the lodge. 
Kootenai longhouse-style tule-mat lodge. 
Construction of the Longhouse.   Traditional Schitsu'umsh longhouse would have a dugout floor of 15-30 inches deep, with a width of 15-43 feet and a length of 50 feet and up to 100 feet.  The larger longhouses had as many as "six fires," each fire for each extended family occupying the lodge.
Wanapum construction of a tule-mat lodge
Interior of a tule-mate longhouse, with Puck Hyah Toot (prophet of the Dreamer Religion and nephew of Smohalla).  The Washat or Seven Drums Longhouse Way, practiced today by the Columbia River Sahaptan peoples, was strongly influence by Smohalla).  Wanapum near Priest River Rapids.
With placement of traditional foods
Nez Perce Longhouse (canvas and tule)
Nez Perce Longhouse (canvas)


With coming of horse, comes the adoption of the plains-style canvas-covered tipi.  Nez Perce.
River Front Park Pow Wow, ca., 1990s


Rob and Rose's home near Warm Springs.  Mish's second home.



Nez Perce Earthen-Covered Sweat Lodge
Nez Perce Sweat Lodge

Nez Perce Sweat Lodge situated within a wooden shelter.


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