But, can't the same be said for pretty much any English language word? If you want to use primitive without the connotative ickyness, you could use something like "The huts are roughly decorated with giant crab shells".Highly unlikely, in that - in the sad event one needs such - in this case there's far too many other single words that say-imply-mean exactly the same thing.
Or, better yet, "The huts are decorated with giant crab shells" and leave the descriptor off entirely. As was mentioned, in the module, describing the refugee huts as primitive isn't terribly problematic since it's obviously not a comment on a culture - it's simply that the makeshift homes are not very sturdy. However, when you're looking at their regular homes and use the term "Primitive", you start getting problems. I mean, good grief, a house in a fishing community being decorated with shells? How is that primitive at all? You see that NOW in homes that are very much anything but "primitive".