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Thatched Roofs and Open Sides

The Architecture of Chickees and Their Changing Role in Seminole Society

Thatched Roofs and Open Sides by Carrie Dilley
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Before and during the Seminole Wars, the Seminoles typically used chickee huts as hideouts and shelters. But in the twentieth century, the government deemed the abodes "primitive" and "unfit." Rather than move into non-chickee housing, the Seminoles began to modernize and have continued to evolve the thatched roof structures to meet the needs of their current lifestyles.

Today, chickees can still be found throughout tribal land, but they are no longer primary residences. Instead, they are built to teach people about Seminole life and history and to encourage tribal youth to reflect on that aspect of their culture. In Thatched Roofs and Open Sides, Carrie Dilley reveals the design, construction, history, and cultural significance of the chickee, the unique Seminole structure made of palmetto and cypress.

Dilley interviews builders and surveys over five hundred chickees on the Big Cypress Indian Reservation, illustrating how the multipurpose structure has developed over time to meet the changing needs of the Seminole Tribe.

University Press of Florida; September 2015
217 pages; ISBN 9780813055602
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Title: Thatched Roofs and Open Sides
Author: Carrie Dilley