Searching for My Destiny


Searching for My Destiny

George Blue Spruce Jr.
As told to Deanne Durrett

American Indian Lives Series

336 pages
32 photos


October 2012


$30.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

November 2009


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About the Book

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.

Author Bio

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


"The inspiring story of George Blue Spruce, Jr., the first American Indian dental surgeon, is vividly rendered within the pages of this book. . . . All the young—and not-so-young—Native people who don't believe that they can make anything of their lives should read this book."—Debra Utacia Krol, Native Peoples

"This remarkable story, told engagingly by Blue Spruce, provides scholars and students alike with the details of how self-determination played out through the work of American Indian professionals."—Nicolas G. Rosenthal, New Mexico Historical Review

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Those Who Came Before Me
Chapter 2. Those Who Paved My Way
Chapter 3. Campus Brats, Cousins, and the Lessons of Life
Chapter 4. Formal Education, Hard Knocks, and Rewards
Chapter 5. Creighton Years
Chapter 6. Finally! Doctor Blue Spruce
Chapter 7. Lieutenant Blue Spruce, USN (DC)
Chapter 8. Indian Health Service Dentist
Chapter 9. From the Wilds of Montana to New York City
Chapter 10. Merchant Marines
Chapter 11. Back to School
Chapter 12. Off to South America
Chapter 13. Back to the States
Chapter 14. Special Assistant: Bureau of Health Manpower Education
Chapter 15. Career Change - The "Money Man"
Chapter 16. "King of the Hill"
Chapter 17. Finally - Director of the Program Closest to My Heart
Chapter 18. Assistant Surgeon General
Chapter 19. Come, Follow Me...
Chapter 20. To Those Who Hold Our Future

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