I found my vocation in one of the most amazing
places in the world. But it almost didn't happen that way. I'm LaWanda Jim, an Internal
Medicine physician and Chair of the Internal Medicine Department at Northern Navajo Medical
Center in Shiprock, New Mexico. I am originally from Blackrock-Bear Springs, Arizona, and
grew up in Shiprock. Dreaming of becoming a lawyer, I left the reservation behind I
thought for good. I went all the way to Dartmouth College, and after graduation I worked for
a while in Washington DC. When my mom got sick in the year 2000, I came back to Shiprock
to help her recover. I learned more about my rich heritage, met the Navajo man I would
marry, and decided to stay. With the help of the Indian Health Service, I went to medical
school in New Mexico, and after finishing in 2012, came to practice at Shiprock. I love
working here. I enjoy using all of my medical skills, and getting to know our patients and
their families. I'm in a unique position, practicing Western medicine and revering the
old ways.

There's so much to know and I am always learning. I live with my extended family
on a beautiful cattle farm that has been in my husband's family for generations. We all
love this land. My Dad used to say, "You need to know who you are and where you come from,
so you know where you are going." This is a fulfilling life, a life with meaning. I'm
LaWanda Jim, and I'm proud to be Navajo. Naashgal dine' nishli, Bit'ahnii bashishchiin, T'aheedl
inii da shi chei, 'shiihi dashinal. I belong to the Mescalero Apache clan, am born for
the Leaf clan.

My maternal grandfathers are Water Flows Together Clan and my paternal
grandfathers are Salt clan. I'm a doctor, and a healer, and I am I H S..



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