Wampanoag wetu: biodegradable house-dome before Bucky Fuller

“The Wampanoag people who lived along the U.S. East Coast built dome-shaped homes called wetus. The round shape was most efficient for heating or cooling the home evenly and for withstanding high winds and hurricanes. It also emerged naturally from the support structure built from saplings bent to create a frame. The winter homes were covered in bark and the summer homes were covered in mats woven from cattail reeds.

“I know some people who wouldn’t mind going back to the traditional houses,” explains Tim Turner, manager of the Wampanoag Indigenous Program at Plimouth Plantation. “The Wampanoag lived in these houses until about the 1960s on Cape Cod. In the 1940s or so it was outlawed because it didn’t have running water or electricity.”


2 thoughts on “Wampanoag wetu: biodegradable house-dome before Bucky Fuller”

  1. Lots of good detail in this video that got me comparing native American shelters with modern natural building.

    One hilarious note that exposes the scam of modern building codes: These shelters were used for 12,000 years but in the 1960s the government declared they don’t meet building codes and can no longer be lived in. But according to their logic it’s perfectly okay to live in a trailer house that offgasses toxic fumes, burns like crazy and falls apart in a few years leaving behind a mess of synthetic garbage.

    • They want you living in an expensive conventional house or apartment and working a standard 8-5 job to pay an endless mortgage or rent. This is the main reason building codes and zoning ordinances exist. It’s not about safety! Plenty of homes build before these regulations are just as strong if not more so than today’s mass produced housing. It’s not just the native dwellings that would be illegal in most of the country today, but also the houses many European settlers built, on grounds like those houses not meeting the minimum size requirements (most settler houses averaged 300 to 800 sq ft\ 27 to 77 sq m, only the upper end of this range would meet many municipal size requirements), using natural raw materials in construction, being of a non-approved architectural style, etc (not to mention, zoning boards and home owners associations would rip their hair out at the mere thought of a house also accommodating a business, as was the norm in 17th through 19th century North America)


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