Our members know their states! This post comes to us from one of our Indian Health Service regional recruiters, Michelle Aguilar Bowser. Michelle shares with her knowledge of both her organization as well as the area where she lives and works, New Mexico.
Name: Michelle Aguilar Bowser
City, State: We serve 20 Pueblo Tribes, Three Navajo Chapters, Two Apache Bands, Two Ute Tribes and Three Main Urban Areas throughout New Mexico, Colorado and Texas.
Organization: Albuquerque Area Indian Health Service, Department of Health and Human Services.
How long have you lived in New Mexico? Why do you choose to live there?
I grew up in one of the Pueblo Indian Reservation known as the Kewa Pueblo, formally known as Santo Domingo Pueblo. As a native descent I am proud and honored to have the abundance of Native American culture and traditions. I have lived abroad to pursue my career in other states and there has never been a place like the great southwest. Once you land in our state, you will feel a sense of freedom to breathe the fresh air, view the clear skies, beautiful mountains, immaculate sunsets, and the sense of kindness in people all around.
How is 3RNet impacting Indian Health Service?
We have learned that the Indian Health Service has been a member with 3RNet for many years and we look forward to participating and utilizing our their resources in a broader capacity for the Indian Health Service. We just learned that 3RNet provides a wealth of resources for matching candidates to our rural and underserved locations, which is the majority of our patient care. Participating under the 3RNet umbrella has been an advantage to us to be able to view applicants and recently learned of our opportunities to attend events under the 3RNet umbrella. We look forward to learning more about how we can partner with 3RNet in learning more about retention efforts across the US to providing the needs of community and our organization.
What are the best cultural events that happen in New Mexico?
The Indian Pueblo Feast Days and other cultural events throughout the year. This website explains more about the Indian Pueblo Feast Days: https://www.indianpueblo.org/19-pueblos/feast-days/
Santa Fe Indian Market, Albuquerque Renaissance Fair, Gathering of Nations Pow Wow, Navajo Nation Fairs around New Mexico and Arizona, International Balloon Fiesta, Duke City Marathon, New Mexico State Fair, Hatch Green Chile Festival, Pie festival, Parade of Lights for Christmas time, Old Town Festivities, Nob Hill parades and more…
Why should a health professional choose Indian Health Service?
We offer diverse uniqueness in each one of our facilities that gives any health professional the experience of providing service care to underserved communities with disproportionally higher rates of social determinants of health than the rest of the US in remote locations that can best described as, “The Land[s] of Enchantment”. New Mexico as offers a variety of cultures, friendly people, a beautiful environment, great hiking, biking, running trails, beautiful mountains, lakes, open space, and a variety of food venues and shopping malls.
What loan repayment programs does Indian Health Service have? Anything that makes those programs unique?
The Indian Health Service Loan Repayment Program (LRP) can help dedicated health professionals like you chart a course for a long-lasting and successful health care career. The LRP funds IHS clinicians to repay their eligible health profession education loans — up to $40,000 — in exchange for an initial two-year service commitment to practice in health facilities serving American Indian and Alaska Native communities.
Are healthcare professionals valued within Indian Health Service? Do you have any examples?
Healthcare professionals are highly valued in our state and in our service locations/communities. We have long standing clinical staff in multiple areas such as the Taos, New Mexico location. The wages paid to healthcare professionals, the respect our people give health care professionals, our people value and trust most health care professionals in our rural communities.
Here is an article from one of our current residents serving at the Zuni Comprehensive Health Clinic in Zuni, New Mexico: https://newgradoptometry.com/ihs-optometry-residency-opportunities/
Why do people travel New Mexico?
We are the “Land of Enchantment”. We are multicultural, internationally recognized, and offer four seasons in one day at times. We have awesome ski locations, we have the largest gathering of Native Americans, and we are home to the International Balloon Fiesta. There is an Annual Gathering of Nations Pow Wow as well as the Pueblo feast days and the Santa Fe Indian Market.
What sports teams does New Mexico have?
- New Mexico Lobos football and basketball teams
- New Mexico State Aggies football team
- Albuquerque Dukes baseball team
- Albuquerque Isotopes baseball team
- New Mexico United professional soccer team
- New Mexico Runners professional Indoor soccer team
- Duke City Gladiator’s professional arena football
What is your favorite local food?
We have an annual Best of Burque survey that goes out, check out the Best of Burque for 2018 at https://alibi.com/feature/55865/Best-of-Burque-2018.html. New Mexico is also known for green chiles, blue corn pancakes, Pinon Coffee, breakfast burritos, carne adovada, Posole, green chile stew, and Frito Pie.
What is New Mexico best known for?
There are 23 Indian tribes located in New Mexico - twenty Pueblos, three Apache tribes (the Fort Sill Apache Tribe, the Jicarilla Apache Nation and the Mescalero Apache Tribe), and the Navajo Nation.
Each Tribe is a sovereign nation with its own government, life-ways, traditions, and culture. All welcome visitors, but please make sure to check ahead of your visit as some communities close unexpectedly for religious or other cultural observations.
The word "Pueblo" is used to describe a group of people, a town, or an architectural style. There are 19 Pueblo groups that speak four distinct languages. The Pueblo people of the southwest have lived in the same location longer than any other culture in the Nation.
The Navajo, the Nation's largest Native American Group, have a reservation that covers 14 million Acres.
To a certain degree New Mexico's Indian Reservations function as states within a state where tribal law may supersede state law.
New Mexico's State Constitution officially states that New Mexico is a bilingual State, and 1 out of 3 families in New Mexico speak Spanish at home.
In some isolated villages, such as Truchas, Chimayo', and Coyote in north-central New Mexico, some descendants of Spanish conquistadors still speak a form of 16th century Spanish used no where else in the world today.
New Mexico was named by 16th century Spanish explorers who hoped to find gold and wealth equal to Mexico's Aztec treasures.
Native Americans have been living in New Mexico for some twenty thousand years. The Pueblo, Apache, Comanche, Navajo, and Ute peoples were in the New Mexico region when Spanish settlers arrived in the 1600s.
What is the biggest misconception about New Mexico?
- It is dry as a desert
- There is nothing to do here (there are best kept secrets!)
What are the biggest industries in New Mexico?
- Gambling Casinos
- Sandia Laboratories
- Government agencies
How is the weather/climate in New Mexico?
We are known to offer four seasons in one day OR throw in a winter day early summer, you just never know!