• Medicine Women

  • The Story of the First Native American Nursing School
  • By: Jim Kristofic
  • Narrated by: Jim Kristofic
  • Length: 16 hrs and 47 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (16 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

After the Indian wars, many Americans still believed that the only good Indian was a dead Indian. But 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.

In this detailed history, Jim Kristofic traces the story of Ganado Mission on the Navajo Indian Reservation. Kristofic’s personal connection with the community creates a nuanced historical understanding that blends engaging narrative with careful scholarship to share the stories of the people and their commitment to this place.

Acclaim

"Jim Kristofic offers a veritable twentieth-century saga of the rise and eventual eclipse of the Presbyterian Mission school, hospital, and nursing program at Ganado against the background of Juan Lorenzo Hubbell’s success as an Indian trader in a unique part of the Native world. In telling of the triumphant confluence of missionary dedication and Navajo endurance against the unrelenting pressure of post-World War II change, he offers a moving story equal to the power of Thomas Gray’s unforgettable 'Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard.'" (Paul G. Zolbrod, author of Diné Bahane’: The Navajo Creation Story)

"The book is a history of the largest medical mission among the Diné (Navajo people), 1902-1969, and its crown jewel, the first Native American nursing school. You’ll find herein appealing portraits of mission staff and students, both Diné and non-, and feel the triumphs and failures of an oasis of learning." (Klara Bonsack Kelley, coauthor of Navajo Sacred Places)

"In Medicine Women, Jim Kristofic adeptly combines archival research with good, old-fashioned storytelling. He draws readers into this world through Diné leader Ganado Mucho, trader Juan Lorenzo Hubbell, US government representatives in the territory, and the varied inhabitants of the land - native, Hispanic, and white." (Nancy J. Taylor, Director of Programs and Services, Presbyterian Historical Society)

About the author

Jim Kristofic grew up on the Navajo Reservation in Northeastern Arizona. His award-winning books, The Hero Twins: A Navajo-English Story of the Monster Slayers and Navajos Wear Nikes: A Reservation Life, are both published by UNM Press. He lives in Taos, New Mexico.

©2019 Jim Kristofic (P)2020 Audible, Inc.
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

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  • Overall
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    3 out of 5 stars

Interesting look at mission health service

This is the story of the Ganado Mission School of Nursing set up in the 1920s and closed in 1951. As an interesting bonus, the first half of the book is the history of the Navajo Reservation since 1897. The history of Ganado Mission covers the last half of the book. The author covers the effects of the religious groups and the government on the reservation; both the good and the bad.

The book is well written and researched. I learned a lot about the workings of the reservation and the history of the Navajo Reservation. I have traveled over a good part of the reservation, therefore, was most interested in the history. I only wish there had been more individual stories about the Navajo nurses. Because of our current pandemic, a description in the book caught my attention. Kristofic was describing the Mission Hospital’s problems dealing with so many influenza patient (1930s) when they had a rush of an additional epidemic of diphtheria patients. I wonder how we would cope if we were suddenly dealing with two epidemics at once.

The book is sixteen hours and forty-seven minutes Jim Kristofic does a good job narrating his own book.

1 person found this helpful

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title is misleading

the first 10 chapters about missionaries. actually most of the book is about missionaries. I was disappointed. but I did finish the book.

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Brilliant Story and History!

This is a great history of Ganado and the Sage Hospital. Essential reading to understand the history of this area. I was totally absorbed by the stories. Jim does a great job of making history live. Even the listings of expenditures were interesting. Loced this book and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in Navajo history.

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