Thesis ID: CBB001562216

“Curing the Indian”: Therapeutic Care and Acculturation at the Sac and Fox Tuberculosis Sanatorium, 1912--1942 (2002)


Lykins, Lisa Dianne (Author)

Kentucky, University of
Hamilton, David E.

Publication Date: 2002
Edition Details: Advisor: Hamilton, David E.
Physical Details: 270 pp.
Language: English

Scourge, White Plague, consumption, lunger---these words were used to describe tuberculosis, the industrial world's most dreaded endemic disease. Although there was no cure for tuberculosis until after World War II, medical professionals believed they could cure the disease, and an anti-tuberculosis crusade became intertwined with late nineteenth and early twentieth century Progressive era reform movements that relied on education and assimilation of those deemed other, immigrants, poor whites, and Native Americans. Reformers tried to inculcate values among these groups that would enable their assimilation into mainstream America, or at least allow them to live amongst white Americans without endangering the body politic or its health. Reformer efforts to assimilate Native Americans, however, had a devastating impact on their health and gave rise to epidemic rates of tuberculosis, which in turn, threatened assimilation goals. To secure Native American assimilation and combat their tuberculosis, the BIA conceived a program of medical assimilation. Between 1909 and 1928, the BIA established seven of these institutions, including the Iowa Sac and Fox Tuberculosis Sanatorium for Native children in 1912. Native parents sent their children hundreds of miles from home, hoping the government could rid them of their tuberculosis. From the Bureau of Indian Affairs' perspective, however, the disease was twofold: Native culture and tuberculosis. The government established the Sac and Fox Sanatorium to cure and assimilate Native children who because of their illness could not attend traditional BIA boarding schools. Sanatorium administrators worked to cure Natives of their culture because they believed that high mortality rates among Natives were a by-product of Native traditions, values, and lifestyles. Given the lack of a genuinely effective treatment, curing the culture out of which tuberculosis sprang substituted for medical treatment. The success of sanatoria, as a tropological cure for Indianness and as a cure for tuberculosis, eluded the BIA. A case study of the Sac and Fox Sanatorium in Iowa, however, reveals much about America's political and social culture, the chasm between cultures, and how patients and bureaucrats tried to bridge this divide during a critical period in American society.


Description Cited in Diss. Abstr. Int. A 63 (2003): 4063. UMI order no. 3070664.

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Authors & Contributors
Jones, Greta
Malcolm, Elizabeth
Shaw, Ann
Kelly, James G.
Geary, Laurence M.
Froggatt, Peter
Medical History
Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Arabisch-Islamischen Wissenschaften
Social History
Korean Journal of Medical History
Bulletin of the History of Medicine
Health and History
International Specialized Book Services
University Press of Colorado
Oxford University Press
The Wellcome Trust Center for the History of Medicine at University College London
University of Hawai'i Press
State University of New York at Binghamton
Disease and diseases
Hospitals and clinics
Therapeutic practice; therapy; treatment
Public health
Wilde, Robert Willis
al-Kaškarī, Ya'qūb
Spivak, Charles D.
Hall, Sherwood
Forlanini, Carlo
Kholtsman, Volf S.
United States
Great Britain
19th century
20th century, early
20th century
18th century
17th century
Royal Belfast Academical Institution
Catholic University of Ireland (Dublin)
National Health Service (Great Britain)

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