Indian languages * American Indian culture * Indian heritage

Barabara (Barabaras)

"Barabara" is the name of the traditional house style of the Aleut and Yup'ik tribes. This is not actually an Aleut or Yup'ik word-- it comes from an indigenous Siberian word for "house" and was used by Russian explorers to refer to any kind of native home. Aleut people called their homes ulax in their own language. They are also known as "earth lodges" or "hill houses" in English. Other Alaskan Natives, particularly the Alutiiq and some Inupiaq groups, lived in the same style of homes, but never adopted this Russian name for them.

Barabaras were semi-subterranean dwellings, made by digging an underground chamber and then erecting a wooden or whalebone frame over it. The barabara frame would be covered with woven grass mats and then packed with layers of earth and sod to insulate it. Here is a picture of a barabara. Because these buildings were partially underground, they were larger than they appeared. There were multiple rooms in a barabara, and each one provided shelter to several families from the same clan.



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Here are links to our webpages about the Aleut tribe and language:

 Aleut language
 Aleut culture
 Aleuts
 Aleut vocabulary
 Aleut pronunciation
 Eskimo-Aleut language family
 Alaska Native tribes

Here are links to more Internet resources about barabaras:
 Wikipedia: Barabara
 Unangan Barabara
 Cultural Change: The Barabara
 Earth Lodges

And here are a few good books about the Aleuts:
 Aleut Identities: Tradition and Modernity
 Aleut Tales and Narratives
 Aleut Dictionary



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