Many Algonquian Nations traditionally used dwellings called wigwams. Wigwams looked a little bit like large tents in the shape of a cone or dome. A wigwam could be 3 to 6 metres wide and 3 metres high. It was made of large wooden poles which were covered with skins and bark. Normally, a wigwam was large enough to house several families.

The ideal home for a nomadic or semi-nomadic lifestyle

A wigwam was very handy for Algonquians because it was easy to assemble, disassemble and transport. Once a band had chosen a location to camp, it took the women about an hour to set up a wigwam. When the band moved, it took only the skins and bark because they were light enough to carry. New poles could be found at the next site where the camp would be set up.

Some Nations that are part of the Algonquian language family, like the W8banaki (Abanaki) Nation, also used “longhouses that were smaller than traditional Iroquoian structures”. (Quote Source: W8banaki. (N.D.). History of the Nation. Accessed Feb. 8, 2024, from

Author: Alexandre Lanoix. Translation and adaption by LEARN/RÉCIT.

See also:  Traces of the past:   A new discovery


Important concepts and big ideas:

Nomad – Nomad
Trade Network – réseau de échanges
Habitation – Habitation
Division of labour – Division du travail

Quickly check your knowledge: