Traditional Housing

Traditional social settlement, Wailuku, Hawai’i, ca. 1903
Courtesy of Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Transfer from the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts; Social Museum Collection, 3.2002.2744.1

This early 20th century photograph shows a type of traditional housing that was already disappearing in Hawai’i.  It has been documented that as Native Hawaiians’ moved away from their traditional culture after encountering Westerners, including colonists and missionaries, their health status declined.

Considered a sacred space, the traditional Navajo hogan is an energy-efficient circular structure made of wood, mud and rocks with a doorway facing east to welcome the rising sun for good health and fortune, and a smoke hole in the center of the roof.  Over the past several decades, Navajo Nation entrepreneurs have begun building updated hogans, in part to reclaim their traditional housing.

Traditional Navajo hogan
Courtesy of the Library of Congress, Edward S. Curtis Collection, LOT 12311