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Using Visuals To Start The Conversation: Huhugam Heritage Center (AZ)

Using visuals to start the conversation: Huhugam Heritage Center (AZ)

David N. Sloan (Navajo) was the architect for the Huhugam Heritage Center in the Gila Indian River Community in Chandler. The process began by bringing together the two groups, the Pima and the Maricopa, as well as a range of age groups:

We went through many visioning sessions with the community. We worked with two tribes, the Pima and the Maricopa, and you had to understand their history. What we tried to do was to provide a lot of visual information on boards, and we would talk about the landscape. Elders would come in and recognize their images, they’d recognize their history, and then they would begin to tell their stories about that”. The visuals, Sloan believes, were crucial: “If you create a lot of visual imagery for the community, it really starts people talking together, especially discussion between the elders and youth, and then the tribal leaders. A lot of times they’re not in a context like that where they are able to express and flow their ideas to one another. That’s when consensus building starts (Ibid, p. 147).

Image credits: Left image retrieved from: http://www.panoramio.com/photo/60402397. Site image to the right retrieved from: http://pkastructural.com/projects.php?id=76.

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