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Presbyterian Native American nursing school honored with National Historic Landmark status

Historian: Sage Memorial changed Anglo and Native American attitudes

October 15, 2009

Sage Memorial Hospital School of Nursing, Ganado Mission.

Sage Memorial Hospital School of Nursing, Ganado Mission. —Rocky Mackey

GANADO, Ariz.

Presbyterian mission and ministry among Native Americans was affirmed when Sage Memorial Hospital School of Nursing, Ganado Mission, was dedicated as a National Historic Landmark at a ceremony in Ganado, Arizona, on September 19.

Anne Worthington, superintendent of the Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site, representing Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar, officiated and, with the stated clerk of the Presbytery of Grand Canyon Richard Coffelt, unveiled a granite monument honoring the women who were students along with the school’s founder, Missionary Clarence Grant Salisbury M.D.

Worthington explained that as a National Historic Landmark, the School of Nursing joins “fewer than 2,500 other sites across our land where Americans’ rich history was made.” She said that less than four percent of all the sites on the National Register of Historic Places merit National Historic Landmark status.

The significance of the Sage Memorial Hospital School of Nursing is two-fold, according to Conservationist Freya Burden, who did the research for the nomination.

“It represents a landmark in changing Anglo attitudes towards the capabilities of the Native American people,” she said, and it “increased acceptance on the part of Native Americans of some ofthe benefits of white medicine and technology.”

Dedication and unveiling of the monument was preceded by a program that looked back at the achievements making the designation possible, as well as into the future.

The Rev. Fran Park, member of the Ganado Commission for the Presbytery of Grand Canyon, and Ahmad Razaghi, CEO of Navajo Health Foundation/Sage Memorial Hospital, expressed confidence of the organizations they represent that the Ganado Mission will continue its service to the community.

An architect’s rendering for a new hospital was printed in the program for the event.

L. A. Williams of KTNN, Window Rock, was master of ceremonies. Ganado Pastor Audrey Jefferson and Elder Alberta Lano offered dedication prayers in English and Navajo. The benediction was offered in English by the Rev. Ken Moe, former executive presbyter, and in Navajo by Elder Merlin Yazzie.

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