George Blue Spruce Jr. is recognized as the first American Indian dentist in the United States. His life story reaches back to the ancient Pueblo culture cherished by his grandparents and parents and extends to state-of-the-art dentistry and the current needs of the American Indian people.
Blue Spruce's journey begins on the Santa Fe Indian School campus with his parents' determination that their children would excel academically and obtain college degrees. After graduating from dental school, Dr. Blue Spruce planned to return to the pueblos to treat his people. As it turned out, his destiny reached far beyond: from the wilds of Montana to New York City to San Francisco to South America and back to the United States. In Washington DC, he presented the needs of American Indians to Congress and lunched with the president.
Throughout his journey Dr. Blue Spruce has traveled between two cultures, succeeding in mainstream society while keeping Pueblo tradition in his heart. Facing prejudice and conquering adversity, he reached the zenith of his career as director of the Phoenix Regional Indian Health Service and achieving the rank of assistant surgeon general of the United States.
George Blue Spruce Jr. is the founder of the Society of American Indian Dentists and serves as the assistant dean at the Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health. He is a popular speaker dedicated to inspiring and motivating future Indian health professionals and promoting health care and education for American Indians. He lives in Arizona.
Deanne Durrett is a freelance writer and the author of numerous books, including Unsung Heroes of World War II: The Story of the Navajo Code Talkers, available in a Bison Books edition. For more information about the book, visit http://www.deannedurrett.com.