Studio Balcones is honored to have played a role in the visioning of the Hozho Voice of Healing Center, an Indigenous, matriarchal nonprofit creating a self-sustaining community based on Diné values in Borrego, NM.
The Voices of Healing Center, also known as the Hozho Center, will be a Navajo operated sustainable lifeway community on traditional Navajo (Diné) land in post-colonial New Mexico. Founded by the Piechowski-Begay family (of the Edgewater and Red House clans) and their extensive support network – the Hozho Center purchased 2000 acres of land surrounding the old Borrego Pass Trading Post. Now run by a 100% Diné Women Board, the Center is in its planning and funding stages for redevelopment of facilities that once housed a boarding school and an LDS mission chapel. Part of Studio Balcones collaboration with the Hozho Center is to plan and visualize an alternative and decolonized future for Borrego Pass.
A major component of the project involves planning for the return of the Navajo Churro Sheep that was nearly lost during successive waves of colonization in the 19th and 20th centuries. The Hozho Center will house a nucleus flock of the Churro sheep and offer an education center with programs focused on revitalization of traditional agro-pastoral lifeways for the greater Diné community. Studio Balcones has developed a comprehensive master plan incorporating these elements to restore and protect pasture land from previously unmanaged drainage and erosion with new green storm-water infrastructure, native pasture land restoration and plans to secure ethno-botanical resources such as herbs for medicine, traditional corn crops and peach orchards.