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Okanagan First Nations

Lodges

There were as many as five different types of lodges or teepees.  During the winter some people lived in underground lodges.  Usually two families would live in one lodge, which was from four to five feet deep.  People entered by means of a ladder, which came out through the roof.  The summer lodges were made of mats from the rushes and tules and were put over a framework of poles.  They were also used in wintertime, when they would be covered with three to four layers of mats.  The lodges were sometimes covered in bark.  It was put on in strips running up and down, with the inside of the bark facing out. Hunting parties often used brush houses with floors of fir and balsam boughs.

 

In place of pots, pans and kettles, the utensils were baskets.  These were made from either bark or coiled baskets.  The knots of trees were sometimes used as dishes, while a few dishes were made from the horns of the mountain sheep, goat, and buffalo.  Spoons were made from poplar and birch wood.  In the big camps, boiling was done by dropping hot rocks into the baskets.  If there was a scarcity of good bark, the paunches of animals were made use of.  Round ovens were generally used in the cooking of berries.  They would then be mashed up in stone mortars and in some cases mixed with dry service berries.  The seeds of the sunflowers were roasted in baskets with hot rocks and turned over and over until they were cooked.  They were then put into a mortar bag and pounded until they became coarse flour.  The berries were gathered either in woven baskets, birch bark baskets, or wooden trays.