USU Blanding to Construct Navajo Hogan on Campus

Utah State University Blanding has announced plans to construct a Native American Hogan for its students on campus. The structure will be in the traditional Hogan style.

Preliminary groundwork has already begun on the new structure and construction will begin in the next couple weeks on campus.

“We are thrilled to be adding a Hogan to our campus,” said USU Blanding Associate Vice President Kristian Olsen. “From the founding of the campus, USU Blanding has been committed to embracing diversity of thought and culture. The Hogan continues our unwavering commitment to providing world class education and experiences to the people who live in the Four Corners region.”

A Hogan is a sacred structure for the Navajo (Diné) people who practice traditional teachings. It is a holy sanctuary and a place of respect and learning, as well as a place to perform ceremonies and keep balance in life. The Hogan is considered a living being (iina’) which when treated with respect will protect its inhabitants. The Hogan also brings happiness, harmony, and material goods, making it a holy place. Many aspects of the Navajo life are taught within the walls of the Hogan and also many sacred songs and ceremonies are practiced, performed and taught by a Holy Medicine man. The Hogan is considered a place of learning and re-learning of traditional and cultural aspects of the Navajo way of life.

“It’s a great privilege and honor to have such a Navajo traditional structure on our campus here at USU Blanding,” said NASNTI Coordinator Jim Dandy. “The feeling of acceptance and honor will be felt by many who views or enters this Navajo traditional Hogan.”

On the USU Blanding campus, 68 percent of students are Native American, with more than 90 percent of those students identifying as Navajo. Many students already perform ceremonies in their dorm rooms. In congruence with its mission statement of “cultivating diversity of thought and culture,” USU hopes the structure shows its Native American students and the community that USU is a welcoming campus for students and is committed to honoring its students’ Native American culture.

“As a Diné, I feel that our campus environment will be positively enhanced in respects of having our students, parents, and the surrounding communities to feel a home away from home,” Dandy said. “It will also remind them of the value of who they are and where they come from. Other departments on campus will also have the opportunity to utilize this Hogan for classes, meetings, and gatherings towards gaining academic success and personal growth.”

The construction of the Hogan will be overseen by Tri-Hurst, a company in Blanding. The lead builder, Benedict Daniels, has experience building many Hogans across the Navajo Nation.

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