Big Mountain Sustainable Housing Project

The Big Mountain Sustainable Housing Land Recovery Project site is located at Big Mountain, a small region of the Navajo reservation between Tuba City, Arizona and the Hopi mesas.

The Navajo reservation is the largest Native American reservation in the country, covering a land mass of 27,413 sq. miles (71,000 Km2). In 2000 census, 43% of the Navajo people were living below the federally designated poverty line (see, accessed 6/1/14).  But the Navajo people have never sat on the sidelines, rather, they have been actively growing food, forging from the wild, hunting, and herding animals to survive.

The people of the former Joint Use area, including Big Mountain, and up to 50,000 people, suffered a 40 year ban on building homes and home improvement (see  PL 93-531)The Benally family and others, have suffered under this law which has caused severe degradation of their home sites.  In addition, over 5 years of drought has left many Navajo home owners without adequate water to sustain their land now over-run by aggressive foreign plants.

This project has chosen former Joint Use Area, Big Mountain home owner Louis Benally of the Black Mesa area as recipient of environmentally redesigned traditionally- inspired hogan (home in the Navajo language) and reintroduced sustainable agriculture and land restoration.  The Benally family has been host for over 30 years to Navajo traditional and cultural events held on their land which makes Louise an ideal choice to be a recipient of the projects’ goal of providing sustainable housing and land restoration to grassroots Navajo leaders.

What We Need:

1) Build a traditionally-inspired green hogan home.

2) Assist Louise in creating a sustainable garden using traditional-way organic farming techniques.

3) Replant the landscape around her hogan, devastated by drought and aggressive foreign plants, using permaculture engineering.

The Impact

Redesigning a sustainable home and landscape for Louise will impact the community greatly. Over 200 people visit the Benally family each year to participate in traditional and cultural events.  By providing an enviromentally sustainable home, landscape and garden, the Benally family’s  home site will be a model in sustainable building and living. This project also seeks to relieve the financial burden of the Benally family who live below the poverty line on Dine Bikeyah (Navajoland).

Other Ways You Can Help

You can help us tremendously by volunteering your helping hands.

We also need green housing and building materials, such as nails, wood, straw, paint, brushes, ladders, wheelbarrows, or rakes and shovels, for example.  We also need local gardening scrubs and plants.

If interested in learning more about how you or your company can donate materials, please contact Aleticia Tijerina, Project Director/Coordinator/Developer at:

Please Help spread the word by posting this project on social media and send to your personal friends and family!!

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