Medicine Women
416 pages, 6 x 9
35 figs., 2 maps
Release Date:15 Apr 2019

Medicine Women

The Story of the First Native American Nursing School

University of New Mexico Press

Winner of the 2019 Southwest Book Award from the Border Regional Library Association
Winner of the 2020 New Mexico-Arizona Book Award for History-Arizona

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.

Kristofic demonstrates thorough research and includes intricate details and photographs, breathing life into the past with a sense of the scenery, peoples, and historical circumstances.'--Farina King, New Mexico Historical Review
The book presents a clear, readable narrative that is layered with detail.'--Rebecca Tannenbaum, Medical History
Kristofic is a fantastic storyteller.'--The Taos News
The scope of Jim Kristofic's new book is really of epic proportions, an intriguing, accessible history of the Ganado Mission on the Navajo reservation in northeast Arizona.'--Albuquerque Journal
Medicine Women contributes to an engaging body of work that values oral history and emphasizes storytelling in historical analysis.'--Gianna May Sanchez, Journal of Arizona History
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
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
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
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.
Find what you’re looking for...

Free shipping on Canadian orders over $40

Stay Informed

Receive the latest UBC Press news, including events, catalogues, and announcements.

Read past newsletters

Current Catalogue
Spring 2022 catalogue cover
Publishers Represented
UBC Press is the Canadian agent for several international publishers. Visit our Publishers Represented page to learn more.