Urban hogan an island of Diné life at Indian Festival

Man sits outside hogan, with loom outside door.

Special to the Times | Roshan Spottsville
Arizona tribes set-up “villages” at the festival. The Navajo village featured a hogan, a very large Navajo rug, a rug weaver and silversmith providing demonstrations. The hogan was set up by Navajo Nation Shopping Centers Inc. The free festival invites the public to view demonstrations of Native American arts & crafts along with modern and traditional performances.


Amid the urban sprawl of the Phoenix metro area stood a small hogan. The door was covered with a brown fleece blanket with a Pendleton design.

There was a woman dressed in traditional attire sitting next to it weaving and two silversmiths sat next to the opening of the “hooghan,” which faced east exactly as it should.

The wooden hogan looked sturdy, like it had taken weeks to assemble. But that was not the case. “It can be put up in a day,” said Nathaniel Begay, CEO of Navajo Nation Shopping Centers Inc. “It’s almost like Legos. These (pieces) are all marked and we just fit them together.”

Begay worked with the Arizona American Indian Tourism Association to bring the hogan to the 2018 American Indian Festival held over the weekend at the Scottsdale Civic Center Mall in Scottsdale, Arizona. He wanted to bring the hogan to the event because he was born and raised in one.

Begay grew up in Sanders, Arizona, with his family. “It’s our mother, the hogan,” he said. “There’s song to it. There’s prayers for homes.”

Begay enjoys sharing the Diné culture with others from around the country and even the world. “We like to share our way of life, our culture,” he said. “I think that’s important.” He is especially happy to share this with Navajo children.

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Categories: Culture

About Author

Pauly Denetclaw

Pauly Denetclaw is Meadow People born for Towering House People. She was raised in Manuelito and Naschitti, New Mexico. She was the co-recipient of the Native American Journalist Association's 2016 Richard LaCourse Award for Investigative Reporting. Denetclaw is currently finishing her degree in multimedia journalism from the University of New Mexico - Main. Denetclaw covers a range of topics including genetic research, education, health, social justice issues and small businesses. She loves coffee, writing and being with her family. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram. Her handle is @pdineclah