If you’re planning a trip to the Grand Canyon, why stay in a boring old hotel or campground? Why not stay in a one-of-a-kind residence, like a Navajo hogan.
A hogan is a traditional house used by members of the Navajo Nation. These structures have a distinct, rounded shape and are made of mud.
For those who are interested in staying in a hogan, Hogan by the River in Cameron, Arizona, provides the perfect experience. Hogan by the River is owned by Shanna Yazzie and her family. She opened up the homestead a few ago, with her family’s approval, so that she could share Navajo traditions with people from all over the world.
Hogan by the River features two hogans. The Yazzie family uses the female hogan for gatherings and the male hogan for ceremonies. Guests are invited to stay overnight in the male hogan, too.
During their stay, visitors to Hogan by the River have a chance to participate in traditional Navajo corn grinding and weaving demonstrations. Shanna and her mother also share cultural stories during these demonstrations and are happy to provide recommendations for local shops, restaurants, and attractions.
Staying at Hogan by the River is not just an exciting opportunity to experience another way of life. It also provides a way to support the environment. There is no running water (or electricity) in the hogan, a deliberate choice meant to emphasize the vitality of water to the Navajo Nation — 1 in 3 Navajo homes does not have running water.
Those who want to support members of the Navajo Nation and their efforts to improve water access for their people can donate to the Navajo Water Project, of which both Shanna and her cousin, Emma, are members.
Those who want to book a stay at Hogan by River can schedule their trip through the Airbnb website, but please keep in mind that visitors are required to abide by Navajo Nation laws, which include no drugs or alcohol on the property.