It is impossible to single out why any Indian dwelling looked and worked the way it did. To be sure, Indians were responding to the climate around them and making the most of natural building materials at hand.

 

 

But the evolution of a particular habitation also was affected by social organization, patterns of gathering food, religious life, and history. To understand the factors that form Indian architecture, one must look for what environment and culture made possible, not inevitable.

 

 

Before proposing a major determinant for the design of a tribal building, one must undertake the “long and painstaking accumulation of recalcitrant detail,” in the words of architectural scholar P.G. Anson, to clarify how the structure functioned in every aspect of life.

DETERMINANTS OF FORM

GREAT PLAINS