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The sterilizations of indigenous women were covert means of the continuation of the extermination policy against the Indian Nations. At least three indigenous generations from 3,406 women are not in existence now as the result. The sterilizations were not unintentional or negligible. They were genocide. What would the indigenous culture and political landscape be now? One can only imagine, but the sterilizations like the relocations - were forced.

Crossposted at Native American Netroots &
Docudharma

The Forced Sterilizations were a mere approximate three and a half decades ago, and it's fair to say the indigenous population would be greater than it is today. 25% greater or less than 10%? 33% or greater? In the wake of the Suicide State Of Emergency on Pine Ridge Reservation,(contact info there) I have one question for our political leaders. Is ignoring the Suicide State Of Emergency on Pine Ridge Reservation part of your goddamned
"family planning?"

(This is a repost)

First, the forced sterilizations must be seen in historical and a more modern context.

Leonard Crow Dog and Richard Erdoes. "Crow Dog." pp. 6-7.

Only when we saw them building roads through our land, wagons at first, and then the railroad, when we watched them building forts, killing off all the game, committing buffalo genocide, and we saw them ripping up our Black Hills for gold, our sacred Paha Sapa, the home of the wakinyan, the thunderbirds, only then did we realize what they wanted was our land. Then we began to fight. For our earth. For our children. That started what the whites call the Great Indian Wars of the West. I call it the Great Indian Holocaust.

Native American Women and Violence

Native American women experience the highest rate of violence of any group in the United States.
A report released by the Department of Justice, American Indians and Crime, found that Native American women suffer violent crime at a rate three and a half times greater than the national average. National researchers estimate that this number is actually much higher than has been captured by statistics; according to the Department of Justice over 70% of sexual assaults are never reported.

Here’s a historical example of violence against Native American women during this general time, to complete laying the foundation.

Anna Mae Aquash

On February 24, 1976, Aquash was found dead by the side of State Road 73 on the far northeast corner of the Pine Ridge Reservation, about 10 miles from Wanblee, South Dakota, close to Kadoka. Her body was found during an unusually warm spell in late February, 1976 by a rancher, Roger Amiotte.[2] The first autopsy (reports are now public information) states: "it appears she had been dead for about 10 days." The Bureau of Indian Affairs' medical practitioner, W. O. Brown, missing the bullet wound on her skull, stated that "she had died of exposure." [1]

Subsequently, her hands were cut off and sent to the Federal Bureau of Investigation headquarters in Washington, D.C. for fingerprinting. Although federal agents were present who knew Anna Mae, she was not identified, and her body was buried as a Jane Doe.

On March 10, 1976, eight days after Anna Mae's burial, her body was exhumed as the result of separate requests made by her family and AIM supporters, and the FBI. A second autopsy was conducted the following day by an independent pathologist from Minneapolis, Dr. Garry Peterson. This autopsy revealed that she had been shot by a .32 caliber bullet in the back of the head, execution style.[3]

The general historical foundation being laid, I ask what would the population of indigenous people be now, approximately three generations  after the forced sterilizations?

Genocide or Family Planning?

According to the GAO report, 3406 Native American women between the ages of fifteen and forty-four were sterilized between 1973 and 1976.

The Scythe and the Scalpel: Dissecting the Sterilizations of Native American Women in the 1970's

In the old days, genocide used to be so simple. Such things as biological warfare used to keep Indians warm with small pox infested blankets furnished by the United States government, and the only thing barren and infertile was the land set aside for reservations.In the 1970s, genocide became a little more complex.
Biological warfare invaded the reproductive rights of Native American women, making their wombs as barren and infertile as reservation land. The sterilization policies during this time perpetuated the genocidal tendencies that have made the eugenics movement a viable legacy of terror in the biological history of Native Americans.

Next, the specifics of who uncovered the forced sterilizations and why that conclusion was reached are vital. The dark moment of discovery came from a Choctaw- Cherokee physician named Connie Uri.

Kurt Kaltreider, PH.D. "American Indian Prophecies." p. 71.

A Choctaw-Cherokee physician, Connie Uri, uncovered this program (large-scale sterilization) when she was asked by a young Indian woman for a womb transplant.

The Indian Health Service and the Sterilization of Native American Women

A young Indian woman entered Dr. Connie Pinkerton-Uri's Los Angeles office on a November day in 1972. The twenty-six-year-old woman asked Dr. Pinkerton-Uri for a "womb transplant" because she and her husband wished to start a family. An Indian Health Service (IHS) physician had given the woman a complete hysterectomy when she was having problems with alcoholism six years earlier. Dr. Pinkerton-Uri had to tell the young woman that there was no such thing as a "womb transplant" despite the IHS physician having told her that the surgery was reversible. The woman left Dr. Pinkerton-Uri's office in tears. 1

Kurt Kaltreider, PH.D. "American Indian Prophecies." p. 71.

She (Connie Uri) scoured the records of the BIA-run Indian Health Service Hospital in Claremont, Oklahoma, and discovered that 75% of the sterilizations were nontherapeutic. Many of the women did not understand the true nature of the surgery, thought it was a kind of reversible birth control, or even signed the consent forms while groggy from sedation after childbirth.

A Look at the Indian Health Service
Policy of Sterilization, 1972-1976 by Charles R. England

The hospital records show that both tubal ligation and hysterectomies were used in sterilization. Dr. Uri commented: "In normal medical practice, hysterectomies are rare in women of child bearing age unless there is cancer or other medical problems" (Akwesasne Notes, 1974: 22). Besides the questionable surgery techniques being allowed to take place, there was also the charge of harassment in obtaining consent forms.

In addition, Montana also had instances of forced sterilizations.

The Indian Health Service and the Sterilization of Native American Women

Two young women entered an IHS hospital in Montana to undergo appendectomies and received tubal ligations, a form of sterilization, as an added benefit. Bertha Medicine Bull, a member of the Northern Cheyenne tribe, related how the "two girls had been sterilized at age fifteen before they had any children. Both were having appendectomies when the doctors sterilized them without their knowledge or consent." Their parents were not informed either. Two fifteen-year-old girls would never be able to have children of their own. 2

Kutr Kaltreider, PH.D. "American Indian Prophecies." pp. 71-72.

Following Dr. Uri’s lead, Senator James Abourezk initiated a federal investigation of the General Accounting office. The resulting report gave the results of a survey from four out of twelve regions with Indian Health Services hospitals. In a three-tear period, over 3,400 sterilizations were performed; 3,000 of them on Indian women under the age of 44. In not one instance were the women offered consent forms that met the federal guidelines and requirements. About 5% of Indian women were being sterilized -

The Indian Health Service and the Sterilization of Native American Women

Native Americans accused the Indian Health Service of sterilizing at least 25 percent of Native American women who were between the ages of fifteen and forty-four during the 1970s.

Albuquerque, Aberdeen, and Phoenix also shared in "inconsistent and inadequate" medical forms. As was mentioned above, there was a federal investigation.

And Then There Were None by Kamet Larson

Most of the 3,400-plus cases involved women who have been sterilized by Indian Health Service doctors (by specially hired physicians in one-third of the cases) -- whether voluntarily or for reasons of medical necessity is unclear, since IHS records blur that critical distinction. Going through three years of files in four of the 52 IHS service areas, federal investigators could find no conclusive proof that the sterilized patients had given their fully informed consent as HEW (which operates the IHS) defines it. For "voluntary, knowing assent" HEW requires a description of what the surgical procedure or experiment is, its discomforts, risks and benefits; a disclosure of appropriate alternatives; an offer to answer questions; and an assurance that the patient is free to withdraw consent at any time without losing benefits. Forms on file in Albuquerque, Aberdeen, Oklahoma City and Phoenix were found to be incomplete on these basic points, inconsistent, inadequate, and "generally not in compliance with the Indian Health Service regulations." Among the stacks of material looked at were physician complaints that preparing the required summaries of conversations with patients was "too time-consuming." Had the IHS been as careless with its patients as with its own record-keeping?

What would the population of indigenous people be now? What would the indigenous culture and political landscape be now?  

I don’t know, but one thing is clear to me: the sterilizations, like the relocations – were forced.

Source

"And...if ever we are constrained to lift the hatchet against any tribe, " he wrote, "we will never lay it down till that tribe is exterminated, or is driven beyond the Mississippi." Jefferson, the slave owner, continued, "in war, they will kill some of us; we shall destroy all of them". (Ibid)

sterilizations in the 70's

The following is a copy of an article by Joan Burnes which appeared in the Lakota Times last August 24th (1994).

- snip -

Emery A. Johnson, then-director of the IHS, told a congressional committee in 1975 that IHS "considered non-therapeutic sterilization a legitimate method of family planning... We are not aware of any instance in which such services have been abused."

To conclude, this is a video Sigrid shared with me. It says what I want to say in this conclusion.

We shall live again.

[Update]

cacamp educates us more about the Forced Sterilizations.

This is one of the issues I've worked on in my life that sincerly pissed me off.  Dr. Connie Uri was a surgeon and AIM member who worked with us on several issues. In 1971 I organized Oklahoma AIM and we did organizing work around Claremore Indian Hospital in NE Oklahoma.

In 1972 a group of Indian nurses there came to AIM and asked that we get involved in this case of forced sterilizations. We did and tried to help the nurses who knew what was going on but were fired when they asked questions. We kept running into walls and the nurses were being weeded out one by one. I should say IHS employees as some were not nurses but the nurses led them in this struggle.

After some work it became obvious that we needed an expert on the inside so I called Connie and asked for her help. Connie came to Oklahoma and went to the hospital prentending she was going to move to Ok and was looking for work. Since she was a highly qualified surgeon and over qualified for the IHS they began to recruit her. In doing so they open their books to her to show her their workload etc.

Connie spent a few days familiarizing herself with the place (and secretly copying the pertinent material) by the time she informed them she couldn't go to work there we had our evidence and Connie became our main witness! We won the cases and put a stop to the horrible bullshit going down.

Along with the brave ndn nurses, Dr.Connie Uri was truly a hero in exposing one of the worst atrocities in IHS history.

[Update #2]

cacamp tells us more about stopping the Forced Sterilizations.

I know Dr. Uri was a big help in exposing what was being done in Claremore IHS but I want to emphasize that the real heros were the native IHS empolyees who came to us with their stories at the risk of their livlihoods. It took them a long time of trying to get higher ups in the IHS to help them or change the policies. Many of them were fired or transferred. When that didn't work they turned to AIM and I called on Dr. Connie Uri. I never heard the 'womb transplant' story but it may be true, even so Dr. Uri didn't uncover what was happening she confirmed what the brave nurses had been fighting the IHS about for a long time.

I very much regret that I don't have their names to honor them for their brave stand. Also not all were nurses some were Indian health workers from janitors to LPNs who banded together to get justice. I was able to meet and interview several of the victims too. I think the most common way to get them to sign the release papers was to approach them after they had been sedated and trick them into signing up for the procedure while they were drugged. It was pretty heartbreaking to hear them tell their stories and to this day it's one of the most angering episodes of my life of activism for my people.

Native American Netroots Web BadgeCross Posted at Native American Netroots

 An ongoing series sponsored by the Native American Netroots team focusing on the current issues faced by American Indian Tribes and current solutions to those issues.

Originally posted to Winter Rabbit on Tue Mar 02, 2010 at 02:24 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Wow. Thank you for this. (9+ / 0-)

    I had no idea. I knew about the schools in Canada, and of course the genocide in the 19th century in both countries. But this is a truly untold story.  

    •  You're welcome, (5+ / 0-)

      it's an  atrocity that needs telling and retelling. Thank you redstar.

      She nourishes us; that which we put into the ground she returns to us. Big Thunder

      by Winter Rabbit on Tue Mar 02, 2010 at 02:39:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  That is so incredibly sad. (6+ / 0-)

      What is the difference between what they were doing and Nazi eugenics? That it happened so recently should cause some profound reflection on what kind of people would do this and with whose permission.
      Thank you for writing this.

      If nothing is very different from you, what is a little different from you is very different from you. Ursula K. Le Guin

      by northsylvania on Tue Mar 02, 2010 at 02:44:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you northsylvania. (3+ / 0-)

        They still had signs up saying "No Indians Allowed" in the S. Dakota general area. Too sad to finish the rest of that sentence.

        She nourishes us; that which we put into the ground she returns to us. Big Thunder

        by Winter Rabbit on Tue Mar 02, 2010 at 02:47:57 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  What kind of people would do this (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        licorice114

        A few years ago I was talking with a retired IHS physician who brought up the sterilizations done in New Mexico.  I know this man to be extremely caring, dedicated, and ethical.  His perspective was that for the facilities with which he was familiar, that consent procedures  (inadequate though they must have been for real, full understanding) WERE in place during those times, and such as they were, were taken as adequate and conscientiously followed.  

        In other words, his first-hand recollections jibe with these remarks from whistleblower Dr. Uri:

        When Indian women do agree to the surgery -- often fearing that federal aid will be cut off if they do not agree that doctor knows best -- misunderstandings frequently arise over what the sterilization means; and the consent forms used, Dr. Uri says, mystify rather than clarify. The GAO findings bear out these possibilities for "misinformed consent ."

        So, what kind of people?  In his case, at least, hard-working, well-intentioned ones complying with the doubtful procedures of an under-funded, and over-burdened system.  

        "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

        by lgmcp on Tue Mar 02, 2010 at 03:27:23 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I can't answer that with grace and dignity. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Larsstephens

          She nourishes us; that which we put into the ground she returns to us. Big Thunder

          by Winter Rabbit on Tue Mar 02, 2010 at 04:08:23 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well, I guess in that case it's good (0+ / 0-)

            that you chose not to answer.  But since I think of you as a rational person, I am quite surprised to find that you have nothing printable to say to the proposition that perhaps some of the physicians involved were NOT monsters of deliberate evil.

            "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

            by lgmcp on Tue Mar 02, 2010 at 04:14:29 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Ok, rational question. If I understand your (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              lgmcp

              position: some doctors of good intentions and good conscious awareness sterilized Indigenous women, women of a specific race, because?

              She nourishes us; that which we put into the ground she returns to us. Big Thunder

              by Winter Rabbit on Wed Mar 03, 2010 at 04:24:03 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Thanks for the thoughtful reply (0+ / 0-)

                I think they did it a) because they were doing it to way too many women of all races, unnecessary hysterectomies and the like being a widely-accepted part of standard medicine at that time  b) strange and twisted logic creeps into a poverty model as well as a race-based model  and c) maybe their conscious awareness wasn't so great, but I don't think good awareness always coexists with good intentions.

                Assuming a consent procedure is adequate and normal, is something that happens millions of times a day in hospitals and medical research, and it is always, to this day, fraught with pitfalls.  Did the patient understand the medical concepts, were they presented at an appropriate vocabulary and educational level? That's not so easy to do even when you're trying, trust me.  How about in an appropriate language(ha!)? Even if you make a point of getting a translator, how good is the translation? What about cultural concepts, cultural communications, values -- is the staff person conducting the consent qualified to, or interested in, mediating those gaps?  Then there's the coercion/dependency issue, will I get cut off or get in trouble if I don't oblige these doctors?  It's common for those fears to exert undue influence even when such consequences are not in fact likely, or are explicitly disavowed.

                So those are some of the reasons why I think  a doctor MIGHT end up sterilizing inadequately-consented patients for whom he intended to have every respect and care.  

                I'm not saying there weren't plenty of assholes too -- folks who figured, a few less babies to adults from the wrong side of the tracks, was a 'good' worth violating their patients for.  

                But I do think that many of the participants in the broken system, were devoid of malice.  Maybe they weren't devoid enough of obliviousness, and yes that is a sin in itself -- but how big a sin?  How far do we go?  When we hold Nuremburg trials, maybe it's not a defense that you were "just following orders" ... but at the same time, we didn't try to bring every surviving adult German male to trial.  Was that merely because of the logistical barrier of pursuing so many?  Or was there a moral reason?

                "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

                by lgmcp on Wed Mar 03, 2010 at 06:52:34 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  One would think (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lgmcp, Winter Rabbit

          that it was up to the person, whether doctor, nurse, or med tech, speaking to the patient, to make absolutely clear exactly what she was agreeing to, especially when the procedure was irreversible. If the consent forms were ambiguous, they should not have been relied on to convey the enormity of the decision.

          If nothing is very different from you, what is a little different from you is very different from you. Ursula K. Le Guin

          by northsylvania on Wed Mar 03, 2010 at 02:55:59 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  True, yet they are and they do (0+ / 0-)

            and it happens every day in every medical setting -- see above.  

            "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

            by lgmcp on Wed Mar 03, 2010 at 06:55:27 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  There are too many atrocities (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Winter Rabbit

      to keep track off, especially since our History books don't give us a clue, and the media certainly isn't interested in re-hashing any of them.  It's only through our own persistence and pursuit of the truth that we EVER find out about them.

      And how many of us have the time to actually do that?

      Thanks Winter Rabbit, once again, for bringing fourth the truths of what happened to your and our own people.

      I say this last sentence, because, just as the elders of long ago, saw the "progress" in action, and warned us that if we allowed it to happen to Indians, eventually it would happen to us as well.  And it has/is.

      There are too many examples to give, but the most recent one is Haiti, and, of course the neglect of the Cheyenne and Lakota tribes during these past winter storms.

      Additionally, the exploitation continues.  It looks like Uranium mining near the Grand Canyon is going to start up again, after so many fights to end it, and so many reasons NOT to do this, given the history of Uranium extraction on Navajo lands.

      I wish I could put lipstick on a pig and paint a different picture, but I can't.

      But we all need to keep plugging away and exposing this criminality (in the midst of a hurricane of greedy criminalities).  Because it's the right thing to do, and it's our only hope of obtaining true happiness during these times - before we are called back to our maker.

      It's also important to appreciate every day, every sunrise, every bird or plant that meets our eyes, so that we can give them whatever positive power we have left in us.  This is very rewarding to us and nature.

      Love you all so much.

      "Only when the last tree has withered, and the last fish caught, and the last river been poisoned, will we realize we cannot eat money." Cree

      by Tyto Alba on Tue Mar 02, 2010 at 05:35:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  If you want to know about Uranium extraction (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Winter Rabbit

        on Indian lands, the politics surrounding it, and how the resident Native people, assisted by AIM fought back against the FBI and the BIA, I highly recommend watching Thunderheart.

        "Only when the last tree has withered, and the last fish caught, and the last river been poisoned, will we realize we cannot eat money." Cree

        by Tyto Alba on Tue Mar 02, 2010 at 05:42:05 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Wow, incredible. (6+ / 0-)

    I taught on the Hopi reservation during the mid-70's. One of my colleagues was an IHS nurse (who is Hopi). We worked closely with the Keams Canyon IHS Hospital.  I had no idea this was going on.  Was it only happening in clinics in large urban areas?

    The reason we hold truth in such respect is because we have so little opportunity to get familiar with it. --Mark Twain

    by Desert Rose on Tue Mar 02, 2010 at 02:46:25 PM PST

    •  Oklahoma, Montana, I've (3+ / 0-)

      talked to people from S Dakota who were. I can't name every place it was, but

      A Choctaw-Cherokee physician, Connie Uri, uncovered this program (large-scale sterilization) when she was asked by a young Indian woman for a womb transplant.

      and

      Forms on file in Albuquerque, Aberdeen, Oklahoma City and Phoenix were found to be incomplete on these basic points, inconsistent, inadequate, and "generally not in compliance with the Indian Health Service regulations."

      Wouldn't surprise me if some happened in clinics in smaller areas, but I don't know. I hope not.

      She nourishes us; that which we put into the ground she returns to us. Big Thunder

      by Winter Rabbit on Tue Mar 02, 2010 at 02:55:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Docs at Keans Canyon were (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lgmcp, Winter Rabbit, Larsstephens

        for the most part, paying off their medical school loans, by working for IHS.  They were young idealists (like me, at the time) who I know would never do such a thing.  They chose to work in this clinic, on the reservation.  They were getting their loans paid off, but truly cared and respected the Hopis and the Navajos whom they served.    
        Perhaps the contrast is that the Docs in the urban hospitals were resentful that they had to work for IHS at all, instead of a "brand name" hospital. That made them callous to the needs of their patients.  Female problems?  Just yank out the uterus.
        Just a hypothesis.  
        This is another terrible injustice to Native Americans and to all women everywhere.
        I'm sorry.

        The reason we hold truth in such respect is because we have so little opportunity to get familiar with it. --Mark Twain

        by Desert Rose on Tue Mar 02, 2010 at 03:25:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Your description of the doctors (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Desert Rose

          who rotate through IHS matches the ones I see today.  Young, idealistic, well-intentioned, but short-timers -- both for urban and rural facilities.  

          I think it was the same back then, most likely.  While I'm sure there were some remarkably callous individuals, I have a hard time believing they were the norm any more then than now.  

          It was a bad system with bad consequences.  Unacceptable consequences.  But I don't know that bad people, as individuals, were the primary cause of it.  

          "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

          by lgmcp on Tue Mar 02, 2010 at 03:34:10 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I don't think I meant that individuals were bad, (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            northsylvania, lgmcp, Larsstephens

            but like you said, it was a bad system.  I do know that in the not too distant past, too many women (of all ethnicities) lost their uteruses, for conditions that today, would not be treated that way.

            The reason we hold truth in such respect is because we have so little opportunity to get familiar with it. --Mark Twain

            by Desert Rose on Tue Mar 02, 2010 at 03:45:42 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  So painful that it's almost impossible to read. (4+ / 0-)

    Nonetheless, it's important that we do.

    Thank you, Winter Rabbit.

    "Women shouldn't be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of women." droogie6655321

    by earicicle on Tue Mar 02, 2010 at 02:55:54 PM PST

  •  Perfect example of something the Joker said... (3+ / 0-)

    In The Dark Knight, the Joker says something that I've been thinking about ever since:

    You know what I noticed? Nobody panics when things go "according to plan." Even if the plan is horrifying. If tomorrow I tell the press that like a gang banger will get shot, or a truckload of soldiers will be blown up, nobody panics, because it’s all part of the plan. But when I say that one little old mayor will die, well, then everyone loses their minds!

    All kinds of societal indignities and out-and-out torts go on, with identifiable usually-white perpetrators and brown victims, and no one calls the perps out because, sad to say, it's all "part of the plan."

  •  This sounds farfetched until you meet someone (7+ / 0-)

    to whom this happened.

    After living a while on the Navajo Nation, my wife and I developed friends who were willing to offer comment when something like this came up.  Most of the time, something this sensitive would not come into conversation, especially with strangers or new acquaintances.  

    I imagine that it is really impossible for people here to have very much of a sense of this, given that the way Indian communities view children and families.  Perhaps one can contemplate that each generation is a hope that the past can be overcome and a future free of the pain can be realized.  When such hopes are dashed, it is hugely tragic for the entire community as it is for the individual family.  

    This cruelty that took aim at young women and their ability to bring the next generation into the world, is incredible.  Truly incredible.

    Very painful story, but thank you for your efforts to educate, Winter Rabbit.  

    I note the few comments.  My recommendation would be to rework this a bit and offer it as a new diary, on the weekend.    More people should consider this history in all its implications.  We all are responsible for knowing what can be known, so that history does not repeat itself.  

    hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

    by Stuart Heady on Tue Mar 02, 2010 at 03:14:39 PM PST

  •  IHS in Claremore (6+ / 0-)

    thanks WR for putting my recollections of the episode in your diary. I know Dr. Uri was a big help in exposing what was being done in Claremore IHS but I want to emphasize that the real heros were the native IHS empolyees who came to us with their stories at the risk of their livlihoods. It took them a long time of trying to get higher ups in the IHS to help them or change the policies. Many of them were fired or transferred. When that didn't work they turned to AIM and I called on Dr. Connie Uri. I never heard the 'womb transplant' story but it may be true, even so Dr. Uri didn't uncover what was happening she confirmed what the brave nurses had been fighting the IHS about for a long time.

    I very much regret that I don't have their names to honor them for their brave stand. Also not all were nurses some were Indian health workers from janitors to LPNs who banded together to get justice. I was able to meet and interview several of the victims too. I think the most common way to get them to sign the release papers was to approach them after they had been sedated and trick them into signing up for the procedure while they were drugged. It was pretty heartbreaking to hear them tell their stories and to this day it's one of the most angering episodes of my life of activism for my people.

  •  Thank you WR (3+ / 0-)

    for your efforts to enlighten so many in regards to what has been going on under the radar to so many for far too long.
    This breaks my heart as do so many all  of your honest and very well linked diaries in the name of all First Nation people.
    I am ashamed to be connected to all of the misguided, fearful, controlling bigots who have 'maned' the helm of this country  And to now learn of so many  young women who have been mulitated at the hands of medical 'professionals' for what?
    How have we come so far from the lessons learned by Americans  who are still alive today and witnessed the genocide of German Jews and said "Never again"
    The atrocities perpretated on our First Nation people seem to be a constant reminder - and with your schooling we will learn from - of how cruel man can be.

    AMR

    Perhaps they are not 
stars in the sky,
but rather openings
where our loved ones 
shine down
to let us know they 
are happy.

    by tallmom on Tue Mar 02, 2010 at 03:40:12 PM PST

  •  Thank you again, WR. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    northsylvania, navajo, Winter Rabbit

    Sorry to be so late rec'ing this - wifi problems tonight.

    I've known the "womb transplant" story for many years now, and it still breaks my heart and enrages me every time I read about it as much as it did the first time.  I'm so glad that you keep raising these issues.

    Authentic Native American silverwork, jewelry, photography, and other art here.

    by Aji on Tue Mar 02, 2010 at 07:33:34 PM PST

  •  Sorry, just uncovered your email about this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    northsylvania, Winter Rabbit

    I'm sorry I couldn't be here sooner to REC this important topic.

  •  How do you feel Obama is addressing Native Issues (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Winter Rabbit

    Hello, this is a sad story indeed. Thank you for bringing it up.  This is one I have only heard in the background, but never really researched.  I have a general question.  How do you feel President Obama is addressing Native Issues so far?  I know he has a mountain of a mess to deal with foreign and domestic, so I could understand if he really hasn't addressed any issues regarding Natives.  But what is your general thought on this?

    •  Obama has made some appointments who are (0+ / 0-)

      Native American. I give him a lot of credit for that. However, he signed the Apology and didn't say anything. That seems to be the way it's going. He'll only go so far, but I don't quite have him figured out. I wouldn't put it past him to do more things like that quietly for political reasons - things that will directly help the Tribes - but quietly. Yet he didn't pardon Peltier either and ignored the fast on or near the White House. But I genuinely like Obama and feel like he has a good heart and he's still new in his presidency. I'm not quite ready to draw conclusions. I'd like to see a lot more done, I'd like it if he'd read the news about the American Indian for just 5 minutes a day.

      She nourishes us; that which we put into the ground she returns to us. Big Thunder

      by Winter Rabbit on Wed Mar 03, 2010 at 04:17:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Desert Rose makes a point (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Winter Rabbit

    I do know that in the not too distant past, too many women (of all ethnicities) lost their uteruses, for conditions that today, would not be treated that way.

    I don't know if you will be checking late comments, but after thinking long and hard about this diary, I am still sick. I will offer another, very anecdotal piece of information:
    When I lived in KS in the early eighties, I had two friends who worked as residential supervisors in group homes for the mentally challenged. Females of reproductive age were encouraged to undergo hysterectomies as a form of birth control, and tangentially as personality modification. (After all, hysteria and hysterectomy have the same root word.) At times the parents were consulted, but when this was impossible, the patients gave "informed consent."
    There was a lot of eugenics going on under the radar. That what you speak of was going on on the reservations is so appalling that it verges on unspeakable. That it was occurring while a lot of us were congratulating ourselves on being culturally aware of Native American issues vies in morbid irony with the Bicentennial celebrations going on at the time. Happy Birthday America indeed.

    If nothing is very different from you, what is a little different from you is very different from you. Ursula K. Le Guin

    by northsylvania on Wed Mar 03, 2010 at 03:13:21 AM PST

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