Hogans are the traditional Navajo home of the Diné People. They serve both as residences and as places for certain ceremonies.

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The Navajo Home - The Hogan

Many Navajo hogans do not have electricity or running water. You may see pick-up trucks hauling firewood or water from community wells.

You will not see towns or cities in the familiar sense. Navajos live in family groups spread throughout the reservation.

Small clusters of hogans, trailers, and a house or two may signify more than one generation of a family.

Two types of Navajo Hogans

There are, broadly speaking, two types, the summer and the winter hogan.
Both are miserably crude structures and wholly at variance with the exquisite blankets designed and manufactured therein.

One would naturally think that, with the art instinct highly developed in one line, it would assert itself in others, and especially in the structures erected for their homes.

Navajo summer hogan
Navajo summer hogan


Yet as one studies the inner life of the Navaho he may find full explanation of this apparent contradiction. In the first place the Navaho is a partial nomad. Never until now has he really felt himself able to settle down anywhere. He had few or no possessions and his home, therefore, needed to be only a temporary shelter which he might have to leave at a moment's or an hour's notice. Hence, why should he make it beautiful, and have his heart grieved at being compelled to forsake it.

Navajo winter hogan
Navajo winter hogan


Superstition also requires the Navahos to burn the hogan after a death has taken place in it. Then, too, the Navaho does not regard the hogan as a white man does his home. The latter lives in his house and goes out of doors as his business or his pleasure demands.

The Navaho, on the other hand, lives out of doors. That is his home. He uses his hogan as a convenient place of storage and a stopping place, with the addition, of course, in winter, that it is a comfortable sleeping place which he can make warm.


But our idea of a house being a home never enters his mind. He loves the beauty of the out-of-doors. He regards that as his own, and the poetry of his conceptions in a variety of ways is remarkably influenced by the glories of Nature. These, then, are reasons against the making of a more beautiful and permanent dwelling.

How To Build A Navajo Hogan
At this site, you can find out about the two types of hogans and how the hogan was built.


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