People and Location:
Covering over 27,000 square miles of land, the Navajo Nation rests along the infamous Four Corners of the United States. The reservation covers all of northeastern Arizona and extends its way into New Mexico and parts of Utah. Of the Four Corners region, Navajo land does not extend into Colorado. The land is considered one of the largest land areas given to a Native American jurisdiction within the states. Its size covers more combined total square miles than the bottom ranking four states of Rhode Island, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Delaware.Members of the tribe believe the land in which they reside is sacred and hold to their belief that they are to remain within the four mountains of the area.
These mountains include Mt. Blanca in southern Colorado, the San Francisco Peaks in northwestern Arizona, Mt. Taylor in northwestern New Mexico, and Mt. Hesperus in southwestern Colorado. On their land, the Navajo live in what is called a "hogan" (pronounced "ho-gun"). The hogans are considered sacred to tribal members and have served as family dwellings in addition to sacred and ceremonial dwellings. Up until the beginning of the 1900s, hogans were built to represent a male and female being.The male or "forked" hogans contained vestibules, or small entryways in the front of the structure, which resembled a pyramid with five triangular faces. The male hogans were used only for private and sacred ceremonies. Female or "circular" hogans were much larger and built to support the family. Female hogans do not have vestibules. The song entitled "The Blessingway" describes the first hogan as being built by Coyote with help from the beavers. The hogans were built for the First Woman, the First Man, and Talking God. The structures, when built, faced the east so the morning sun can be welcomed and good blessings made.