FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. Indigenous Community Enterprises hopes to expand its
traditional Navajo hogan home program to accommodate families next year.
It has been building new hogans (small, eight-sided wooden houses) for
Navajo elderly, but the 802 square foot floor plans accommodate only two
people, according to director Estelle Bowman, Navajo.
ICE has been getting money from the Navajo Housing Authority and local
Chapter sources on the Navajo to build the structures, each of which costs
about $60,000. Its plans for the elderly program include 15 hogans, five
each in the Arizona, New Mexico and Utah portions of the giant reservation.
Three were blessed in spring 2003.
The hogans can be expanded to add two bedrooms through several of the eight
sides of the structures, Bowman explained.
The need for more room even for the elderly was established on a tour of
Navajo housing in connection with the recent first-ever Congressional
housing hearing on tribal lands. A delegation led by Reps. Bob Ney, R-Ohio,
Rick Renzi, R-Ariz. and Maxine Waters, D-Calif. visited the Tuba City,
Ariz. home built by ICE for Anna Jackson, a Navajo grandmother.
Jackson's house itself was new and relatively comfortable, except that it
was without electricity and running water. But she has custody of five of
her grandchildren, not an uncommon status on the Navajo, and the children
live in a ramshackle old hogan with the roof caving in just behind hers.
ICE, four years old, has been building the hogans for the past two years.
It developed the design in consultation with Navajo elders.