Urban Hogan an Island of Diné Life at Indian Festival

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.

Published February 18, 2018

SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA – 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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