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Products for grant FT-60443-13

Native American Lives and the History of South Dakota's Hiawatha Asylum, 1920-1934
Susan Burch, President and Fellows of Middlebury College

Grant details:

Disorderly Pasts: Kinship, Diagnoses, and Remembering in American Indian-U.S. Histories (Article)
Title: Disorderly Pasts: Kinship, Diagnoses, and Remembering in American Indian-U.S. Histories
Author: Susan Burch
Abstract: “Disorderly Pasts” centers on life stories from South Dakota’s Canton Asylum, a federal psychiatric hospital for American Indians. Between 1902 and 1933, the Asylum detained nearly four hundred Indigenous men, women, and children from more than fifty Native nations. Focusing especially on the experiences of Menominee people collectively stolen from their homes in Wisconsin to Canton in November 1917, this article exposes contested understandings of kin, diagnoses, and remembering. Complex relationships between the three concepts also emerge: medical diagnoses were used to undermine Indigenous kinship, and they complicate remembering. At the same time, remembering—recalling and repopulating the past—offers a way to challenge pathological diagnoses and affirm Native self-determination.
Year: 2016
Primary URL: ijkey=lSFJzAzzMqvpwOv&keytype=ref
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Journal Of Social History
Publisher: Oxford University Press, Journal of Social History

“Dislocated: the Canton Asylum for Insane Indians” (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: “Dislocated: the Canton Asylum for Insane Indians”
Author: Susan Burch
Abstract: This presentation examines “dislocated histories” from the Canton Asylum in South Dakota, the only federal psychiatric hospital specifically created for Native peoples in the United States. Beginning with its first forced occupant in December 1902, the Asylum ultimately housed nearly 400 men, women, and children from 17 states and nearly 50 tribes before it was closed amid scandal in 1934. My historical study draws on a vast array of source on and by the people held at the Canton Asylum, as well as oral histories and extensive collaboration with some of their descendants. Conceptualizing asylum life as community history offers a reinterpretation of conventional institutional histories, which privilege administrative perspectives. This enables new insights into human relations, constructed categories (like race and disability), and identities to emerge. Exploration of this Asylum community's complex history reveals "large questions in small places." Individual histories of inmates and their families are inextricably tied to broader stories of forced removals; the rise of boarding schools, as well as penal, medical, and disability institutions. This paper will focus especially on the similarities, overlaps, and distinctive differences between other institutions of control and the Canton Asylum. Including a critical assessment of disability (as a contested and culturally-specific idea, a lived experience, and an analytical interpretation), this project seeks to expand the boundaries of Native American and critical disability studies by bringing these histories into conversation with each other.
Date: 5/29/2014
Conference Name: Native American Indigenous Studies

Committed: Remembering Native Kinship in and beyond Institutions (Book) [show prizes]
Title: Committed: Remembering Native Kinship in and beyond Institutions
Author: Susan Burch
Abstract: Between 1902 and 1934, the United States confined hundreds of adults and children from dozens of Native nations at the Canton Asylum for Insane Indians, a federal psychiatric hospital in South Dakota. But detention at the Indian Asylum, as families experienced it, was not the beginning or end of the story. For them, Canton Asylum was one of many places of imposed removal and confinement, including reservations, boarding schools, orphanages, and prison-hospitals. Despite the long reach of institutionalization for those forcibly held at the Asylum, the tenacity of relationships extended within and beyond institutional walls. In this accessible and innovative work, Susan Burch tells the story of the Indigenous people—families, communities, and nations, across generations to the present day—who have experienced the impact of this history. Drawing on oral history interviews, correspondence, material objects, and archival sources, Burch reframes the histories of institutionalized people and the places that held them. Committed expands the boundaries of Native American history, disability studies, and U.S. social and cultural history generally.
Year: 2021
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: University of North Carolina Press webpage for Committed
Access Model: Open Access
Publisher: University of North Carolina Press
Type: Single author monograph
ISBN: 978-1-4696-633
Copy sent to NEH?: No