Books

Book on first Native American nursing school to be released

Taos author Jim Kristofic uses personal connections to illuminate a little known story

By Tempo staff
tempo@taosnews.com
Posted 4/18/19

Jim Kristofic has written four books. His latest, “Medicine Women: The Story of the First Native American Nursing School,” is a detailed history tracing the story of Ganado Mission on the Navajo Indian ...

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Books

Book on first Native American nursing school to be released

Taos author Jim Kristofic uses personal connections to illuminate a little known story

Posted

Jim Kristofic has written four books. His latest, “Medicine Women: The Story of the First Native American Nursing School,” is a detailed history tracing the story of Ganado Mission on the Navajo Indian Reservation. Kristofic’s personal connection with the community creates a historical understanding that blends engaging narrative with careful academic study to share the stories of the people and their commitment to this place.

Teacher by day, writer by night, Kristofic is a fantastic storyteller. Meet him at a book signing Saturday (April 20), 3 p.m. at Op. Cit. Books, 124A Bent Street, Taos. Admission is free.

At Ganado Mission in the Navajo country of northern Arizona, a group of missionaries and doctors, who cared less about saving souls and more about saving lives, chose a different way and persuaded the local parents and medicine men to allow them to educate their daughters as nurses. The young women struggled to step into the world of modern medicine, but they knew they might become nurses who could build a bridge between the old ways and the new.

Just before starting second grade, Kristofic moved from Pittsburgh across the country to Ganado, Arizona, when his mother took a job at a hospital on the Navajo Reservation. He grew up on the Navajo Reservation in northeastern Arizona, and worked on and off the “rez” for more than 10 years as a river guide, journalist, ranch hand, National Park ranger and oral historian. He has written for the Navajo Times, Arizona Highways, Native Peoples magazine, and High Country News. After the births of his Navajo half-siblings, Kristofic and his family moved off the reservation to an Arizona border town where they struggled to readapt to an Anglo world that no longer felt like home.

Incidentally, Op. Cit. books will be expanding into the area where Letherwerks was located next door to the bookstore. Construction will start Friday (April 26).

For more information, call the venue at (575) 751-1999.

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