Housing-1 - Summary The subarctic culture area spans the...

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Summary: The subarctic culture area spans the entire North American continent; it covers most of Canada as well as much of Alaska’s interior. In clockwise order, it is bordered by the Far West, Northwest, Arctic, Eastern Woodland and Plains culture regions. The widely spaced and few original inhabitants of the Subarctic stubbornly dealt with long, tough winters, as well as short summers alive with big mosquitoes and black flies. Page 1 food: Since the entire subarctic is north of the limits of native agriculture, people fed themselves by hunting, fishing, and, to a variable extent, gathering berries and other plant foods. Unfortunately, many groups depended on a single species, such as moose and caribou, for the bulk of their diet. When game was plentiful this practice was not a problem, but since the population of key resources was subject to natural fluctuation, groups regularly suffered hunger and even starvation. Caribou were often captured by means of large surrounds or corrals or were driven through fence systems into lakes, where they were shot. They were also stalked and snared, as were moose. In the extreme north, people brought firewood, tent stakes, and canoes out onto the Barren Grounds for the summer caribou hunt. Fowl and smaller animals, such as hare, marmot, beaver, and muskrat, were also snared and shot. People caught fish with a variety of devices, depending on location, such as nets, traps, gaffs, hooks, and weird. Coastal people relied also on sea mammals and shellfish. In the west, some groups, such as the Beaver, even hunted buffalo. Page 2 Housing and Structure: The most common type of shelter was the domed or conical lodge, consisting of poles covered with skins, boughs, or birch bark. Groups nearest Northwest Coast people built plank houses. Some northwestern groups built frame houses partially below the earth, using earth and moss as insulating materials, as well as bark-covered rectangular houses at fishing camps. Some groups used shelters with a double A-ridgepole framework and containing multiple fires. Drying racks, sweat houses, caches, and other structures were also commonly built. Page 3 Clothing and Adornment: women generally made the clothing, which came from moose, caribou, hare, or other skins, with trim of beaver or other fur. Winter items, such as parkas, hats, and mittens, were also made of fur. Hides were tanned, generally

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