About Us

NANAINA is a committed group of persons from every corner of the country, dedicated to the health and well-being of the American Indian and Alaska Native people. Some of us are ourselves American Indian, Alaska Native, some not. We are nurses, non-nurses, serving or not in communities and programs for American Indians and Alaska Natives. Regardless, we hope you will join us in our cause, our endeavors to raise the health of our people and to advance our profession.

Founded in 1993

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The current organization, NANAINA, was born at a 1993 North Dakota gathering of nurse leaders from around the country. Their desire was to “rekindle the spirit” and “reconnect the circle” thereby re-establishing an organization that would represent AN/AI nurses as well as work to improve the health care services to AN/AI peoples.

Our people make the difference.

Nation Advisory Committee Meeting

      Drs. Lillian Tom-Orme and Martha Baker are pictured right at the National Advisory Committee meeting of the ANA-SAMHSA Minority Fellowship program (MFP) in Silver Spring, MD on November 12-13, 2015. Dr. John Lowe also serves on the committee. Lillian and Martha are representatives of NANAINA on this committee. 

This year only one American Indian nurse was selected among a number of fellows from other ethnic populations. Dr. Cynthia Greywolf, Cherokee, who has a DNP will be working on her PhD in psych-mental health at the University of Hawaii. The MFP would like to encourage more AIAN to apply as we tend to have the lowest number of fellows and some years we have no applicants. The MFP provides funding and support during the fellowship. 

Shaping A Place For Native Nurses

Through Leadership and Vision

Our people make the difference

NANAINA is a committed group of persons from every corner of the country, dedicated to the health and well-being of the American Indian and Alaska Native people. Some of us are ourselves American Indian, Alaska Native, some not. We are nurses, non-nurses, serving or not in communities and programs for American Indians and Alaska Natives. Regardless, we hope you will join us in our cause, our endeavors to raise the health of our people and to advance our profession.

Our History

NANAINA is founded upon its predecessor organization, American Indian Nurses Association (AINA), later called American Indian Alaska Native Nurses Association (AIANNA), which disbanded in 1984 with approximately two thousand members. Since that time, small chapters and groups of American Indian Nurses have continued to promote and support Alaska Native American Indian (AN/AI) students, nurses, and allied health professionals. This has been accomplished through the development of leadership skills, continuing education, and advocacy for improved health care through culturally competent health care to AN/AI consumers.

The current organization, NANAINA, was born at a 1993 North Dakota gathering of nurse leaders from around the country. Their desire was to “rekindle the spirit” and “reconnect the circle” thereby re-establishing an organization that would represent AN/AI nurses as well as work to improve the health care services to AN/AI peoples.

Our Vision

NANAINA exemplifies excellence in nursing through outreach, self-determination, and research by using traditions and innovation to achieve health equity.

Our Mission

NANAINA unites American Indian/Alaska Native nurses and those who care for AN/AI people to improve the health and well-being of American Indian/Alaska Native people.

Our Values

Integrity, respect and spirituality will guid NANAINA throughout the generations.

Pelagie “Mike” Snesrud

My Story →
Pelagie “Mike” Snesrud is a retired CAPT, U.S. Public Health Service. Mike is a Registered Nurse, BSN and Certified Public Health Nurse with 35 years nursing experience, primarily in public health administration with over 29 years of experience working with Indian Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, and tribal health programs.

Tasha Peterman

My Story →
Tasha Peterman grew up in Wrangell, Alaska and is Kaach.ádi from Shax’héen Kwáan. Tasha graduated from the University of Alaska Anchorage with her Associate Degree in Nursing in 2010, and will graduate from Chamberlain

Alisa Bednarchuk

My Story →
Member of the Lower Sioux (Cansayapi) Indian Community in Morton, MN. Graduate of St. Catherine University BSN program 2017. I am a new grad working for Indian Health Service in Browning, MT on a Medical/Surgical unit. I aspire to become a pediatric nurse and potential Nurse Practitioner in the future.

Dr. Misty Wilkie

My Story →
Dr. Misty Wilkie is an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians in North Dakota. She grew up on multiple reservations in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota. She began her nursing education in an Associate degree RN program (Hibbing Community College) in 1997, completed an RN-BS (Bemidji State University) in 2001, a master’s in nursing (University of North Dakota) in 2003 and a PhD (University of Minnesota) in Nursing in 2009.

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