About Choctaw Indian Cabins
Text By Christie Leman
The Choctaw Indians are a Native American tribe that originated in the southeastern states of Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama. In the 17th century several bands of southeastern Native Americans came together to form the Choctaw Indian tribe.
The Choctaw Indians were moved from their tribal lands to reservations in Oklahoma in 1831, during the presidency of Andrew Jackson.
Before being moved from their homeland, Choctaw Indian cabins were made of wattle and daub and grouped together in settlements.
Wattle and daub housing is not original to Choctaw culture. Archeologists have found evidence of wattle and daub cabins dating back as far as 6000 years ago during the Neolithic period.
Wattle and daub archeological findings have been discovered in Europe, Africa, Mesoamerica and in North America, most notably in the southeast with the Mississippian cultures like the Choctaw. As a settled, non-nomadic people, it was imperative that Choctaw Indian cabins be permanent structures that could stand up to the elements of the southeast.
Choctaw Indian cabins, made using the wattle and daub technique, were made from wooden poles, smaller branches and vines, and a mixture of mud and straw.
Vertical wooden poles provided the framework for Choctaw Indian cabins.
Interlaced branches and vines, or wattle, were used between each wooden pole to create a lattice that the daub was then applied to.
Daub could be made from many substances, but it was normally a combination of mud and straw. The daub was applied to the interwoven branches to fill the open spaces and insulate the structure. Thatch roofs covered Choctaw Indian cabins to keep out the heavy rains common in the climate of the southeastern United States.
The wattle and daub Choctaw Indian cabins were round with conical thatched roofs, and large enough to accommodate one family group. When a child of the family was of an age to marry, he or she and the new spouse would construct their own home.
There were no windows in Choctaw Indian cabins, just a single door that was only about three or four feet tall. Choctaw Indian cabins were small, so most homes just had small cane beds raised off the floor, a large pot in the center of the room for cooking and dishes for eating.
The wattle and daub Choctaw Indian cabins were ideal for the climate of the southeastern United States and the culture of the Choctaw people. Most other Indian tribes in the southeastern states used similar wattle and daub housing structures because of its obvious benefits.
These Native Americans were sedentary, so they did not have to worry about portable housing that could travel easily from place to place. They were able to construct more permanent structures that would keep out the colder temperatures in the winter and rain throughout the year.
It is not known exactly when this wattle and daub structure became the format for Choctaw Indian cabins and other Mississippian cultures, but the evidence suggests this type of housing was in use long before Europeans came to the area in the 16th century. This continued to be the basic structure of Choctaw Indian cabins until tribe removal to Indian Territory in the 1830s.