Shaapuhtuwaan with Three Hearths

Shaapuhtuwaan with Three HearthsA house this size was usually built to hold a large number of people. It could house as many as ten families so when a lot of people wanted to stay together this is what they made. This type of lodge was also used for meetings. When people used to hunt caribou, this was the type of house they constructed because it could hold forty caribou on the racks. The three hearths were convenient for drying the meat. Sometimes, during a long caribou hunt, the women would follow the men's trail and they would erect this type of structure near the kill so the carcasses would not have to be carried any great distance.


Shaapuhtuwaan with Three Hearths1) First three sets of conical frames are erected. The two end frames consist of four large poles tied together. The middle conical frame consists of six large poles; three on either side of the house, tied with caribou hide rope (figure 8).

2) Two large ridgepoles are laid across the top of the conical frames. Other poles are placed leaning against the three conical frames and the two ridgepoles.

3) The coverings are then applied to the frame. It usually takes about eight caribou skins to cover one side of the house. The top part of the house is left open during the day for ventilation and light. It is closed at night with caribou skin coverings. See figure 2 for a description of caribou skin coverings.

4) The ends (top) of the house are semi-covered with strips of birch bark sewn together. They use birch bark around the smoke hole because it is less flammable than hide.

5) Boughs held down with poles are placed on either side of the doorway to control the draft. When the boughs are in place, there is just enough room for a person to squeeze through the doorway. A piece of hide is used as the door. It extends to the bottom preventing the cold from coming under the door.

6) Racks are then placed over the hearths and on the sides of the house. These are used for drying caribou meat.