Built Environment Reference

Acoma-Laguna School, New Mexico

A school located in the Grants-Cibola County School district and caters to students from middle school (7th grade) to high school (12th grade). As this school is on the edge of both the Acoma and Laguna reservations this school serves both communities.

Zuni Christian Reformed Mission. Zuni, New Mexico

A Catholic School founded by Franciscan missionaries in 1923, located on the Zuni Pueblo Reservation in New Mexico. Currently, the school serves only the Zuni community. The pre-kindergarten through 8th grade school has an annual enrollment of approximately 160 students.

The first Indian boarding school was opened in 1879 in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. The main goals of boarding schools were to convert Native American children to Christianity and to “civilize” students to European-American culture by separating them from their families and community. Schools often enforced the wearing of uniforms, punished students if languages other than English were spoken, and even legally changed students’ names. The sexual, physical, and psychological abuse of Native children was common at Indian boarding schools.

Native American communities were reluctant to send their children to Indian boarding schools and the U.S. Army and even tribal police sometimes kidnapped children in order to meet enrollment. In 1900, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) changed some of their policies regarding separating families and many boarding schools became day schools. However, many of these schools continued to promote an educational philosophy that did not include the teaching of Native histories, cultures, or practices.

Two Gray Hills Boarding School, New Mexico

Two Gray Hills is the fictitious Indian boarding school that Jim Chee attends. It is located near the Two Gray Hills trading post in the northwest corner of New Mexico on the Navajo Nation Reservation. Indian boarding schools often operated as missions; their main goal was to assimilate Native American children into what was understood as the dominant U.S. culture via conversion to Christianity, loss of indigenous language and lifeways, and training in service work. Physical, sexual, and psychological abuse were common at boarding schools.

winter hogan

It is not uncommon for the Navajo to have a summer and winter dwelling. A hogan is a traditional Navajo home. Hogans are generally round (female) or, less commonly, cone shaped (male), with the door facing east. The earliest hogans were called forked-stick hogans and were made from wooden poles forked together at the top to form a conical structure that was then covered with mud; the construction is very specific and the directions for building a hogan have been passed down for generations, originating with the Holy People.

A winter hogan is generally located at lower elevation pasture land. This structure is made of wooden planks and can be covered in earth for better insulation. However, winter hogans can also be used during summertime.


An enclosed area generally made of wooden planks that prevent stock animals, such as sheep, goats, and cows from escaping. Corrals are generally associated with pastoralism and ranching.

Santa Fe Municipal Airport, New Mexico

A small airport in Santa Fe that offers commercial flights. Most visitors to New Mexico prefer the Albuquerque International Sunport, which flies to many more locations, and is approximately an hour drive to Santa Fe.


A sharp bend in a road, path, trail, or even railroad that results in a zigzag movement through time and space, usually in order to travel up or down a mountain. Although switchbacks, also referred to as doglegs, add time and distance to a route, they lessen the amount of vertical climb or descent accomplished over a given distance.


A mixture of lime or gypsum, sand, and water that is applied to the walls of structures as a sealant. In the Southwest, many pueblos are made of adobe, which comes from the Spanish verb adobar, meaning “to plaster.” Part of the annual maintenance cycle of pueblo structures can include the ritual of whitewashing, or plastering, interior and exterior walls with a local derivative of plaster. Stucco also became part of the Southwest's architectural palette and can be found on the exterior of many contemporary buildings as well.

trading post

A trading post is an establishment where goods can be traded. It is also a social center where news and gossip are exchanged. Trading posts have been associated with American frontier culture since the seventeenth century. Over time, trading posts developed into a cultural institution at first funded and backed by empire, later by national interests, and most often by enterprising business men.

Trading posts became centralized hubs in a network of exchange that both participated with and circumvented the burgeoning capitalist system that was imported into the Americas along with settler colonialism. Although trading posts were initially intended to provide support to the European traders and trappers who traced their way across the North American continent, Native American groups were also drawn into the posts' exchange network. Native Americans traded furs, pelts, and even scalps for finished goods such as steel knives, firearms, woven textiles, food stuffs, and alcohol. Although not every post was poorly managed, trading posts earned a nefarious reputation for taking advantage of Native traders by offering poor exchange rates, trading products that were infected with diseases, and promoting the purchase and use of alcohol.

Many trading posts are still in existence. In the Southwest, they still symbolize "the frontier" as they are located as at the dividing line between "wilderness" (Indian country) and "civilization." Today, trading posts can be reached by pickup truck, tourist RV, and even the occasional horse. Many trading posts are also preserved as National Historic Sites.

summer hogan

Also known as a brush hogan, a summer hogan is a temporary shelter typically made of three forked poles and covered with the boughs of cedar or piñon pine. These structures are generally used during summer, when it is too hot to have thick earthen-walled hogans. Summer hogans are also constructed for ceremonial use. When used for ceremonies, summer hogans are constructed with specific materials, depending on their purpose. For example, if a summer hogan is constructed for a ceremony to bring female rain, piñon branches would used, whereas for a ceremony to bring male rain, cedar would be used. Additionally, summer hogans take varied forms, depending on the use or need. If the hogan were being constructed for a ceremony, for example, and only a wind break would be needed, then the hogan might have only one wall.


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