Traditional dwellings of the Alutiiq and Aleuts


Traditional dwellings of the Alutiiq and Aleuts were called a barabara or barabora in Russian; ulax̂, ulaagamax, ulaq, or ulas (plural) in Aleut; or a ciqlluaq in Alutiiq ~ Sugpiaq. They are the indigenous people of the Aleutian Islands.

They lay partially underground like an earth lodge or pit-house, and most of the house was excavated from the dirt so as to withstand the high forces of wind in the Aleutian chain of islands.

The roof of a barabara was generally made from sod and grass layered over a frame of wood or whalebone, and contained a roof doorway for entry.

Inside of the barabara was a main room, and a secondary room used for parental purposes.

The main room had two rows for cots, less-excavated and higher than the rest of the room. The bottom of the room had one or more holes for an “inhouse.”

The entrance typically had a little wind envelope or “Arctic entry” to prevent cold wind, rain or snow from blowing into the main room and cooling it off.

There was usually a small hole in the ceiling from which the smoke from the fire escaped.

Barabaras are no longer used, as present-day Aleuts live in modern houses and apartment buildings.