Five Honorees of Native American Heritage: Jessmin Fernandez, Micaryn Begay, Thane Rosette, Kambrea Soltero and Loren Begay (NAU)
Five Honorees of Native American Heritage: Jessmin Fernandez, Micaryn Begay, Thane Rosette, Kambrea Soltero and Loren Begay (NAU)

Annual Blessing Ceremony Held for Native and Non-Native Americans

Beth Smith
Beth Smith
Five Honorees of Native American Heritage: Jessmin Fernandez, Micaryn Begay, Thane Rosette, Kambrea Soltero and Loren Begay (NAU)
Five Honorees of Native American Heritage: Jessmin Fernandez, Micaryn Begay, Thane Rosette, Kambrea Soltero and Loren Begay (NAU)

Native American Traditional Healer Miquel Flores, Jr.
Native American Traditional Healer Miquel Flores, Jr.
As the new academic calendar gets underway, a sunrise celebration of prayers for strength, guidance and protection were exchanged among the Phoenix Biomedical Campus community on August 10. Organized by the college’s Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, the Blessing Ceremony was led by Native American traditional healer Miquel Flores, Jr., a member of the Pascua Yaqui and Tohono O’odham tribes.

Traditional healing ceremonies promote wellness by reflecting Native conceptions of Spirit, Creator and Universe, where the body and spirit heal together. “The creator has many blessings and provides [us] a strong mind to move forward,” Flores, Jr. reminded those in attendance.

Elements of the Traditional Blessing Ceremony
Elements of the Traditional Blessing Ceremony
More than 20 people attended, five of whom were considered honorees because of their Native American heritage. Of the five, the college was represented by Kambrea Soltero, a Pathway Scholars Program student, from the Chemehuevi tribe; Jessmin Fernandez, an MS1, from the Tohono O’odham; and Thane Rosette, an MS2, from the Chippewa Cree. All three mentioned, and were appreciative of, the support they received from the Native American communities in their journeys to medical school.

As a non-Native American, Ekta Patel, MS1, came to discover, learn and participate in a culture different from her own. Being supportive of her classmates and their diverse backgrounds were what attracted her to the college, as she’s leaning toward a medical career in primary care.

Francisco Lucio, JD
Francisco Lucio, JD
“As a symbol of support for our Native American students and the University’s recent land acknowledgment illustrating the commitment to indigenous students and communities,” was the answer given by Francisco Lucio, JD, associate dean from the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion when asked why his office supports this annual event. He added, “We are proud to showcase a strong culture of inclusive excellence on the Phoenix Biomedical Campus.”

Story by: Dan Blumenthal

About the College

Founded in 2007, the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix inspires and trains exemplary physicians, scientists and leaders to optimize health and health care in Arizona and beyond. By cultivating collaborative research locally and globally, the college accelerates discovery in a number of critical areas — including cancer, stroke, traumatic brain injury and cardiovascular disease. Championed as a student-centric campus, the college has graduated 593 physicians, all of whom received exceptional training from nine clinical partners and more than 2,400 diverse faculty members. As the anchor to the Phoenix Biomedical Campus, which is projected to have an economic impact of $3.1 billion by 2025, the college prides itself on engaging with the community, fostering education, inclusion, access and advocacy.