Catholic Church Modeled After Navajo Hogan

CHINLE — Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church here sits near Canyon de Chelly on the Navajo Reservation, so it’s entirely logical that it would be built in the shape of a Navajo hogan. Although substantially larger than the traditional Navajo dwellings, the building is six-sided and the entrance faces east, just like its smaller counterparts. Also, the baptismal font sits directly beneath a stylized opening in the roof, similar to those found in hogans.

Inside the church sanctuary, the paintings depicting the Stations of the Cross hang right next to Navajo statues and figurines. According to local religious leaders, integrating the two beliefs makes it easier for parishioners to accept both without divisiveness.

Navajo statue inside church. Photo Credit: Sam Lowe
Navajo statue inside church. Photo Credit: Sam Lowe












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