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The Sweat Equity Homes Project

2022-ongoing | Dennehotso, AZ

The Sweat Equity Homes Project (SEHP) is co-designed by Nááts'íilid Initiative in partnership with Navajo Nation Council to develop community-based solutions for  homelessness,  multigenerational household conditions, lack of access to utility infrastructure in particular electricity, indoor plumbing, and food cultivation sites through community power building. We aim to promote housing solutions that reclaim traditional Nihok’aa Diyin Dine’é (Navajo) architectural teachings and resurgence of food sovereignty, cultural cooking, seasonal storytelling, and hosting traditional ceremonies to support adaptation methods and means for contemporary lifestyles. We aim to center housing designs with family gathering spaces for children to complete school work and develop and foster relations with animals and surrounding landscape. We collaborated with local elders and collective rituals to enrich our communal engagements in supporting our proposed communal health spaces. Our vision perpetuates Nihok’aa Diyin Dine’éphilosophy focusing on the Hooghan Tsindahdiitl’iní (female hooghan with butt and pass round log cabin joints) is an animate being, nurtured and cared for by the inherent families. We are crafting contemporary Navajo architecture by integrating Diné bizaad (Navajo language) nomenclature, reviving pre-colonial construction methods with the agency of local knowledge, seasonal ritual practices of harvesting materials, local building techniques, and environmentally conscious building practices. We aim to develop a framework intersecting contemporary modes of construction and Nihok’aa Diyin Dine’é architectural knowledge systems.

Project Team: CarmiRae Holguin (Project Director), Samantha Eddy (Designer), Cara Dukepoo (Director of Community Programming), Elisha Charley (Research Fellow)

Funded by the NDN Collective Community Self Determination Grant