I was privileged to stay for two days at
the Spider Rock Campground,
which is located at Canyon de Chelly in Arizona. Howard Smith made me feel welcome, and
checked in on me now and then to make sure I had not frozen to death (it got to six
degrees Fahrenheit at night!). A nicer person never existed!
While there I also photographed the hogan built at the Canyon de Chelly Visitor's Center.
Disclaimer: what I write below could be totally wrong!
The Canyon de Chelly Visitor's Center hogan. I have a desire to build one of these
in the Mojave Desert, on the border of Death Valley: I am therefore studying
how to do so.
The door faces East, so that the occupant may greet Dawn Boy in the morning (with a blessing of corn pollen). Inside there is a wood-burning stove to cook on and to heat the hogan: its smoke pipe exits through the smoke hole so that the occupants are not smothered with carbon monoxide.
Upon completions, hogans are blessed with a Way (chant / song). An abalone shell is burried under one wall, and other items are burried under the other walls. Changing Woman taught the Dine how to build their hogans.
When a Dine approaches death, she or he is taken outside so that death does not occur within the hogan. If a person dies within the hogan, the smoke hole is blocked, the door is sealed, and the North wall is breached: the hogan is then abandoned--- if a Dine enters the "death hogan," he might catch the Ghost Sickness and require a Ghost Way to be healed.
|Corner details for the Canyon de Chelly Visitors Center hogan.|
|The lay-up details of the roof, from the inside.|
|Another image of the lay-up details of the roof, from the inside.|
|The top corner of the Visitors Center hogan, where the roof joins the walls.|
The door of Howard Smith's small hogan. If I recall correctly, these "Y tree branch" hogans
are called "male hogans" and the larger hogans are called "female hogans." This is, if I
recall correctly, due to the hogans' chief occupants.
GPS coordinates: 35N23.9864' 115W56.7899'
|Hogan side view, from the north-east. I was warm as toast inside, even though it was 26 degrees below freezing (6 degrees Fahrenheit) outside.|
|The fire place inside the hogan. I burned juniper and piņon pine in this all night.|
|This is the sign to look for when going to the Spider Rock Campground.|