Youngest American Indian female dentist, Dr. Susan Sergie (left) with oldest American Indian female dentist, Dr. Jessica A. Rickert (right) at Society of American Indian Dentists’ 25th Anniversary in Washington, D.C.
25 YEARS AND COUNTING events held at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of the American Indian
Published August 14, 2015
WASHINGTON—The Society of American Indian Dentists (SAID) celebrated their 25th Annual Conference, themed 25 YEARS AND COUNTING in Washington, DC, July 29th – August 1st. The commemorative conference kicked off with the Welcome Reception held at the historic Senate on Indian Affairs Committee Hearing Room. President Emeritus, Dr. George Blue Spruce, Jr. welcomed everyone and offered remarks, speaking to the invaluable importance of the SAID to American Indian (AI) and Alaskan Native (AN) communities. Mr. Mike Andrews, Majority Staff Director and Chief Counsel and Mr. Anthony Walters, Minority Staff Director and Chief Counsel, both with the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, were among the guests.
The Opening Session began with a prayer in the Tewa dialect of the Pueblo Tribe to start the first official day of the conference at the magnificent Smithsonian Institution National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI). The Vice President of the SAID, Dr. Darlene Sorrell delivered the welcome in the stunning Rasmuson Theater. She acknowledged the organization’s Board and members, special guest and student dentists.
Mr. Duane Blue Spruce, an architect with the Smithsonian Institution opened the conference with a lecture entitled, History and Development of the National Museum of the American Indian. The two days of lectures showcased a diverse lineup of speaker support from the Indian Health Service (IHS), and from members of the SAID, the American Dental Association (ADA), the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), the Hispanic Dental Association (HDA), and the National Dental Association (NDA). The continuing education course credits were awarded by The Children’s Oral Health Institute.
The Silver & Turquoise Ball was the highlight of the Anniversary Conference. The celebration was hosted in the NMAI Potomac Atrium. SAID member Dr. Jessica Rickert played native tunes on her flute during the reception as guest made their way into the spectacular Atrium. Family and friends arrived in their fun & fancy attire to a room beautifully decorated with silver & turquoise table linens and flowers to compliment. Each table setting included an elegant silver souvenir journal and lovely birthday gift. A Barrick Design turquoise candle draped with a silver book mark bearing the SAID logo on one side and the 25th Anniversary theme on the other was provided for all guest.
Dr. George Blue Spruce offered a prayer in the Ohkay-Owingeh (Pueblo) language before guests were invited to enjoy the exquisitely prepared buffet. The dining offered a delectable variety of AI cuisine that was enjoyed while the keynote was given by the Ms. Alison Grigonis, Senior Director of the Office of Cabinet Affairs for the White House.
New graduates, Dr. Maximilian Jenson and Dr. Jeremy John who received blankets in the traditional Blanketing Ceremony were acknowledged by Dr. Nancy Reifel and the SAID. The bestowing of a blanket continues to signify honor and respect in the AI/AN cultures.
The evening celebration included congratulatory remarks from the leaders of organized dentistry. Dr. Maxine Fineberg, President of the ADA, Dr. John Drumm, President – District of Columbia AGD, Dr. Amarilis Jacobo President – Elect, HDA, Dr. Cynthia Hodge, President – National Dental Association Foundation, Dr. Edwards Chappelle, Immediate Past President – NDA and Dr. Lily Garcia, Chair of the American Dental Education Association Board of Directors each offered words of inspiration to the SAID.
Past President, Dr. Dave Smith recognized each sponsor including Brushtime Enterprises, Colgate Palmolive, Crest Oral B and Henry Schein. Silver Anniversary Awards for their kind support were presented to the companies by SAID President Dr. Drew Preston and Vice President, Dr. Darlene Sorrell.
Guests participated in the Traditional Round Dance led by the Wild Turkey Band of Piscataway Conway Indians from Southern Maryland. Everyone joined in singing happy birthday. The cake was cut and enjoyed along with other dessert pastries. Laughter erupted continuously when comedian Marc Yaffee took to the stage. The evening entertainment concluded with an absolutely captivating performance by the renowned songstress, Martha Redbone
The commemorative 25 YEARS AND COUNTING celebrations culminated with tours of the National Museum of Dentistry and the first dental school in the world, the University of Maryland School of Dentistry in Baltimore.
The SAID members are returning to their tribes energized, inspired and stronger for having celebrated their 25th Anniversary Conference with so many inspiring and likewise inspired professionals in the nation’s capital.