The main house of a family was a compact, sturdily built dwelling. The average ehu, "dwelling," or gotsadi, "house," was about twenty feet long and twelve feet wide. It was constructed by placing a row of spaces between the posts close to one another. The spaces between the posts were filled tightly with small tree limbs and vines. The entire wall, inside and out, was then plastered over with mud and grass. When the plaster dried, both sides of the walls were whitewashed. The gabled roof was covered with bark. The interior of the house was furnished with couches and stools covered with animal hides. Rugs of woven hemp, painted on both sides with figures of birds and animals, covered the dirt floors. The house was used to store personal equipment, extra clothing, pots, baskets, bows and arrows, blowguns and other items. The house was seldom used by the family during good weather. They preferred to remain outdoors during the day and sleep outside at nght. Many referred to the main dwelling as their winter house.
The Ani-Tsalagi was a matriarchal people and women owned all of the real goods. The woman's brothers and mother's brothers built the houses.
Each family had an asi, named after fire, in which the family used for family gatherings. The asi was also used for sleeping during the coldest nights. The asi was a circular structure about ten to fifteen feet in diameter. The floor was dug down about two to three feet and the walls made of upright logs buried into the ground. These were then plastered with clay. The roof was made with smaller logs and covered with bark. Dirt was piled on top of the roof. The ceiling was not high enough for a person to stand upright. There were no windows and only a small door was made facing the south. It was through this door that light and people entered, and smoke and people exited. A fire was in the center of the asi, and when not burning brightly, it was covered with ashes and left to smolder.
Couches were arranged around the walls in the asi with animal skins for bedding. During cold weather the asi was the favorite place for the old men to gather and tell stories and give lectures to the young.
The third building to make up the family complex was the unawadali, "storehouse" where dried produce and dried meat was kept. Farm tools were also stored in the unawadali. Each family had their own storehouse to store the food they raised or hunted. There was also a larger town storehouse to store food to be used by the entire village in case of need. All families gave a portion of their food to the storage system, its contents to be used by any person or family who became poor and destitute for any reason. No person was assigned to receive, or to distribute the food. A person had to share. A person took what they needed.
To round out the family home place was a large lean-to with open walls and a roof covered with bark and grass. This was the cooking area. The oven for cooking was just outside the lean-to. This was an area used most by a Tsalagi family, especially during the summer and good days of winter. Alisdayvdi gasgito, "table and benches and furniture in general," were located in convenient places to conduct family business. This furniture could be moved under the lean-to during inclimate weather.
[First Town is Formed]
[Building the Mound and Sacred Fire]
[Tribal Government] [Leaders] [Red and White Organizations] [The War Women] [Warriorship and War Titles]
[Diplomacy] [Immunity of Ambassadors] [Marriage and Divorce] [Tobacco Pipes] [The Ceremonial War Hatchet]
[Take Up The Hatchet] [Bury The Hatchet] [Traders and Merchants] [Craftsmen and Industrial Arts] [Games]
[Taboo] [Burial] [Book Main]