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press release January 2004

Ya'at'eeh,

My name is Richard K. Begay, an architectural designer from Chinle AZ.   My current place for continued enrichment is the northern half of the Sonoran Desert - namely Phoenix and Scottsdale.  As a designer, I find knowledge and inspiration in the spirit of place and by listening to people.  Since graduating from the University of Arizona's School of Architecture, I've been delighted by the practical nature of my profession yet my motivation elevates as I begin the process of helping the younger generation.  I believe my undertaking is to help the Navajo Nation as well as people living away, therefore I continue to expand and share my intellect in various skews regarding the enrichment of our culture.  

I am involved with a film documentary on Native American architecture - from Navajo structures, preservation with a Pueblo in New Mexico, to an overview of a Haida `long house' in British Columbia as well as others.     

During the latter part of January 2003 I traveled to northern Arizona namely the Navajo Nation with representatives from Mushkeg Media Montreal, Quebec Canada.  This phase of the project was a research visit to various locations on the Navajo Nation so that visual and aural experience of place is augmented and clearly understood for the producers.  This insight fostered a `script' entailing the genuine portrayal of Dine' architecture - from traditional precedents to contemporary interpretations.  Our edifices such as the domed Hogan, forked Hogan, sheep corral, sweat lodges, or shade structures provide the necessary composition between material and function - and ultimately our place in the Dine' Universe.  

Filming will commence in February 2004. In order for this to evolve, I am respectfully asking if there are any individuals (or families) who would like to share (interview) their private dwellings or allow us to film the actual construction of a female Hogan.  Paul Rickard, Director and president of Mushkeg Media writes:  “We propose to use the construction of a Hogan as a story device to create a structural through line for this documentary.  We will follow the construction of a Hogan and use its versatility of design to make connections with other traditional structures that exemplify and amplify individual elements of the Hogan.  The Hogan is a deceptively simple traditional Navajo structure that within it's design has all of the elements needed to connect it to every other traditional structure we want to include in our story.  The four main areas of activity laid out in the Hogan designs are: thinking, designing, planning, and doing.”

The documentary will certainly provide enrichment to those who find interest in Dine'tah and our Hooghan'.