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Hogan

In the Four Corners region of the state, the traditional houses of the Diné (Navajo) dot the landscape. While styles vary across time periods and are influenced by available materials, a hogan almost always opens to the East to greet the sun, and is most commonly a one-room circular structure built of wood and mud (and sometimes stone). Most also have a hole in the roof, to allow smoke from an interior fire to escape. Because the Diné people would typically abandon a dwelling after the death of a family member, or to move on to new grazing areas, hogans are not necessarily built to be permanent structures.

There are two types of hogans: male and female. Male hogans are used for ceremonies and tending to the sick; the female hogan is a center of domestic life. This is where a family eats, cooks, sleeps, and gathers. Though these structures are still a common sight in northwestern New Mexico, most hogans built today are for ceremonial purposes; relatively few Navajo considered them a primary dwelling by the late 20th century.

[Text courtesy of Elisa Parhad, from New Mexico, A Guide for the Eyes; Eyemuse Books, Los Angeles, CA.]