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Strachey's A Dictionarie of the Indian Language

Smith's Vocabulary of Indian words

Weroances and Their Tribes

English Observers

William Strachey' s Description of Critters in the Chesapeake Bay

Henry Spelman, Relation of Virginia, 1609


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Is that where they live?

The Towne of Secota
The Towne of Secota
A cheiff Lorde of Roanoac
A cheiff Lorde of Roanoac
The three stages of building a yi-hakan
The three stages of building a yi-hakan
The three stages of building a yi-hakan
The three stages of building a yi-hakan
The Powhatans lived in homes called yi-hakans built by the women of the tribe. Several women and their children working together could be build a yi-hakan in a day or so. As the group labored together, the work became a fun event, a time to socialize.

The women would remove all the branches from saplings, and then stick them in the ground like a pole. The saplings would then be bent until the other end could be stuck in the ground as well, forming a "U". The frame and floor would be covered with bark peeled from trees or with mats that the women had woven with straw and grass. Because the ceiling was high and rounded, there was room to store food and other things over people's heads.

While most houses were fifty to sixty feet long, with one large room, some were larger, from eighty to one hundred feet long. A yi-hakan was usually the home of six to twenty people, with the bigger houses going to the weroance, who had many wives and children. Beds were raised platforms that were placed along the inside wall of the yi-hakan and were covered with mats; animal skins were used as blankets.

There was always a fire burning in the center of the yi-hakan, even during hot weather. If the fire were to go out, it would be considered bad luck. There were no windows to let the smoke out or let the light in. Instead of windows, there was a hole in the roof and one or two low doors. The Powhatans did much of their work outside where the light was better.

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