I received a email this morning from one of the email lists I maintain. In it was a upcoming event of great interest to me personally because I knew this person’s family was from Paguate Village in Laguna Pueblo.
The email was about Dr Blue Spruce, Jr from Roxane Spruce Bly. I was only aware of the family growing up in Paguate and was very surprised to learn more about this individual.
The email read:
Recognized as the first American Indian Dentist, Dr. Blue Spruce, Jr. founded the Society of American Indian Dentists and is currently an Assistant Dean at the Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health where he has motivated many Native students to attend dental school and return to their tribal communities to practice.
His recently published autobiography, Searching for My Destiny recounts his childhood growing up at the Santa Fe Indian School and his parents’ determination that their children obtain college degrees. He describes the loneliness and challenges of leaving home and graduating from dental school at Creighton University as well as the excitement of a career that took him from Montana to New York City and South America.
Please join Dr. Blue Spruce Jr., his family, and friends to honor his contributions to Indian health and hear his personal memories of traveling between two cultures, facing prejudice, and conquering adversity to achieve the rank of Assistant Surgeon General of the United States.
Light refreshments will be served.
When: Saturday, June 26, 2010 at 3pmWhere: Indian Pueblo Cultural Center2401 12th St. NWAlbuquerque, NM 87104
After reading this, I went about to find out what else more was on the internet, and here is what I uncovered for all the readers of my post here.
- The book mentioned above “Searching for My Destiny” from University of Nebraska Press and Amazon.com (you can read a bit of the book on this site).
- Wonderful article on the American Indians & Alaska Natives in Health Careers website about Dr Blue Spruce, Jr.
- Recent book review & interview on 12/18/2009 with NPR Native America Calling.
Here is the audio from the NPR event, the book review & interview start at about the 6 minute mark:
I have not read the book yet (it’s now on my list), but I’m sure there are some similarities in our paths dealing with mainstream culture vs native culture and learning away from home. I’m really looking forward to the event honoring Dr Blue Spruce, Jr at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. I’m sure there is plenty to learn from his journey.