Walapai - Settlements

Walapai settlement patterns have been and continue to be closely tied to the availability of resources. Aboriginally, the "camp," composed of about 25 related individuals, was the primary settlement and subsistence unit. Relying for much of the year on the abundant and varied wild resources of Walapai territory, the camp might join others during some seasons, either to exploit game or farm near springs and washes. During the period of conquest, there is evidence that farming took on increased importance, resulting in larger and more stable settlements of as many as 250 Walapais. With the establishment of the reservation and consequent reduction in the territory available to Walapais for hunting, gathering, and farming, many took jobs and quarters in towns along the railroad. By 1960, only half of the enrolled tribal members resided in the reservation town of Peach Springs.

Archaeological evidence suggests that the primary aboriginal house form was the rough brush wickiup, a circular structure without poles. Habitation debris has also been located in caves and rock shelters. During the postcontact period, Walapais were observed living in more permanent domed houses, thatched with arrowweed or covered with juniper bark. Eight-sided hogans and tar-paper shacks became common during the reservation period. During the 1970s, the tribe undertook a substantial effort to develop adequate housing on the reservation.

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