U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Indian Health Service: The Federal Health Program for American Indians and Alaska Natives
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Acoma-Canoncito-Laguna Service Unit

picture of Acoma-Canoncito-Laguna Service Unit The Acoma-Canoncito-Laguna (ACL) Service Unit serves the three Tribal groups in the immediate area: the Acoma Pueblo (population 3,500), the Laguna Pueblo (5,500) and the Canoncito Navajos (1,100).

The Acoma-Canoncito-Laguna Service Unit consists of the ACL Hospital in Acomita, and health centers at Laguna and Canoncito. The hospital provides general medical, pediatric, and obstetric inpatient care with 25 beds. ACL also houses a Dialysis Unit and the New Sunrise Regional Treatment Center, a residential program for adolescents.

The hospital offers a full range of outpatient and dental services as well as several speciality clinics, utilizing a combination of direct and contract services. Full diagnostic and treatment facilities support outpatient care. Well-baby, diabetic, prenatal and general medical clinics are scheduled weekly.

The field health program consists of health services that include health education, public health nursing, social services, nutrition, school health programs, environmental health, and alcohol and substance abuse services.

In each setting a number of health professionals, in close cooperation with community members, use the team approach to health care delivery. This partnership for health approach has contributed positively to the well-being of the community.

In order to encourage the young people to become interested in pursuing health careers, hopefully to return to practice in their communities, ACL is currently concentrating on incorporating educational activities that make the groundwork subjects fun, starting at an early age. Also reflecting ACL's commitment to the communities it serves is the active participation of each medical officer in a community project of their choice.

Health Care Team
Clinical Psychologists
Dental Assistants
Health Care Team
Health Educators
Laboratory Technologists & Technicians
Medical Records Staff
Mental Health Technicians
Physician Assistants
Public Health Nurses
Radiology Technicians
Social Workers

West central New Mexico, where the great mesas are the boldest and most beautiful, is the home of the ACL Service Unit, stretching out into rolling pasture lands studded with rock outcroppings and pinon, and bordered by the Cibola National Forest. The climate is semi-arid, offering mild winters and dry summers. Close-by Grants, a uranium boomtown, sits on black volcanic rock fields under sacred Mt. Taylor. This long-extinct volcano is clearly visible 67 miles away in picture of Sky City Albuquerque, and provides great outdoor recreation. Bluewater and Acomita Lakes and Cibola extend the possibilities, including fishing, hunting, camping, hiking and picnicking. Also within easy driving distance: El Morro National Monument, site of Inscription Rock with its graffiti dating back to prehistoric times; Chaco Canyon, a 1000 year old village; massive Bandera Crater, formed when its volcano erupted eons ago and next-door Ice Caves, always frozen a few feet below the surface. beautiful Enchanted Mesa is the legendary home of the ancestral Acomas. For nightlife and shopping, Albuquerque and Grants are both easily accessible, in addition to the several general stores, laundry and other facilities on the ACL reservations. 40 staff housing units are available adjacent to the hospital. Other possibilities are rental of housing or mobile home space from the tribes or daily commuting from Grants or Albuquerque.

The Acoma-Canoncito-Laguna Service Unit serves three Tribal groups in the immediate area: the Acoma Pueblo (population 3,500), the Laguna Pueblo (5,500) and the Canoncito Navajos (1,100). Total land owned by all three tribes equals approximately 740,00 acres.

Acoma is one of the oldest of the pueblos, continuously occupied since 1075. "Sky City", the ancient Acoma, sits atop a 400' mesa, long speculated to be due to the location's defensibility.

Laguna Pueblo's name means "Village by the Lake", although the lake is long gone. On the topic of names, "pueblo" was given by the Spanish explorers to the Indian groups they found living in well-developed communities, because they reminded the Spanish of the villages of their homeland. These groups built multi-story structures around a central plaza, along rivers and streams that supported farming and allowed them to build well-ordered and complex societies, maintained to this day.

The Canoncito Navajos, a tribe of the extensive Navajo Nation and originally nomadic, are now primarily stockmen and farmers, as are many of the pueblo people.

Partnership for Health
picture of Ritual Room in ACL Indian Hospital The partnership between the Acoma-Canoncito-Laguna Service Unit and the tribes it services is the key to their success in identifying the health problems of the community and then working to resolve them. This process began many years ago in a meeting between ACL and tribal medicine men. It was pointed out then that the Indian people had a long history of natural therapeutic care; one based the prevention of illnesses and that took the whole person and his community into account. With the introduction of modern health care services, attitudes changed. The people went to facilities for solutions to health problems already well established, treating symptoms rather than causes. Today, there has been a return to many of the traditional, more integrated approaches to healing, resulting in a much higher level of health.

As the hospital was being built, there was a request by the local tribes to have this particular room built. It is designed to resemble a Navajo hogan and provides easy access for both patients and traditional healers. The main door faces east and in the center of the room on the floor is an open pit-like area that goes directly to the earth below. There is a fireplace, as in most Pueblo homes, and a rook which resembles that of a hogan. An Indian nurse and architect were part of a committee which was instrumental in getting this built. Outpatients truly appreciate the fact that this room exists for their traditional medical use.

Contact Information
Acoma-Canoncito-Laguna Service Unit
P.O. Box 130
San Fidel, N.M. 87049
Phone: (505) 552-5300 Dental Clinic: (505) 552-5310

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