Sterilization of native american women

Sterilization of Native American women

sterilization of native american women

Forced sterilization was a procedure done by the Indian Health Service (IHS) and corroborating physicians on Native Americans in the s and s.

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By Carolyn Hoemann. Tags: FM , native american women , native americans , racism , sterilization , united states , university of iowa , US government. Content warning: this article discusses racial profiling and acts of genocide. The s are often referenced as a time of liberation in American culture.

A podcast about pregnancy and drug use, Native people and tribal sovereignty. Jean Whitehorse had often heard her grandmother beg in the Navajo language for the return of her old name. One day Whitehorse asked the year-old woman what her name had been. Whitehorse is one of many Native women who were victims of coerced sterilization by the IHS in the s. In Navajo culture, wealth is not determined by ownership of material goods, but rather by the number of children one has, according to Whitehorse. Asetoyer of the Comanche Nation is featured in the film. Women were ashamed when the power to give life was stripped from them.

During the late s and the early s, a policy of involuntary surgical sterilization was imposed upon Native American women in the United States , usually without their knowledge or consent, by the federally funded Indian Health Service IHS , then run by the Bureau of Indian Affairs BIA. It is alleged that the existence of the sterilization program was discovered by members of the American Indian Movement AIM during its occupation of the BIA headquarters in A study by Women of All Red Nations WARN , concluded that as many as 42 percent of all American Indian women of childbearing age had, by that point, been sterilized without their consent. A subsequent investigation was conducted by the U. The GAO study showed that 3, involuntary sterilizations were performed in these four IHS hospitals during this three-year period. In Hartford, Connecticut, the figure stood at 51 percent. Women in Puerto Rico were also part of experimentation studies of the early birth control pill before it was released on the U.

Then, a year after the operation you find out that you have been sterilized, and that the paperwork you signed allowed for the government to do that to you. This is what happened to Native American woman Jean Whitehorse in the 70s. And there are many, many more stories similar to this — with as many as 70, Native Americans sterilized without consent during the 60s, 70s, and 80s at the hands of the US government. Some were coerced into the procedure under the belief that their benefits would be stopped, some were asked to sign complex paperwork under sedation, others were told they could have the operations reversed when they wanted children. These atrocities, and the ongoing trauma being suffered as a result — including alcoholism, depression, and addiction — are still largely known.

this film is exposing the forced sterilization of native americans

The IHS doctors sterilized Native American women through coercion or sterilized them without consent using a variety of tactics. The tactics included failure to provide women with necessary information regarding sterilization, use of coercion to get signatures on the consent forms, improper consent forms, and lack of an appropriate waiting period at least seventy-two hours between the signing of a consent form and the surgical procedure. - Beginning in and continuing for 70 years, California led the country in the number of sterilization procedures performed on men and women, often without their full knowledge and consent.

The Little-Known History of the Forced Sterilization of Native American Women

Many consider the plight of Native Americans an archetypal genocide. Additional efforts over centuries to eradicate their population would follow. A recent, albeit weakly publicized, continuation of this policy has been played out in a bioethical arena. Indeed, after the Nuremberg Trials and an explicit international consensus, this would be considered anathema. On view is the evil of forced abortions and sterilizations.

Jane Lawrence documents the forced sterilization of thousands of Native American women by the Indian Health Service in the s and s. But another medical outrage is less well-known. Medical services were part of U. With the arrival of the Progressive Era, health interventions became even more of a priority and the Department of the Interior and later the newly-formed Indian Health Service devoted resources to education and medical care for American Indians on reservations. Though the IHS did deliver better health care, it operated under historical assumptions that native people and people of color were morally, mentally, and socially defective long after it was founded in Assisted by government assumptions that high Native American birth rates should be stemmed, and bolstered by lax law enforcement and inaccurate descriptions of medical procedures provided to women who thought they were being treated for things like appendicitis, a rash of forced sterilizations began in the s. Even after legislation designed to protect women from forced sterilization was passed in , the abusive sterilizations continued.

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‘Ama’ and the Legacy of Sterilization in Indian Country







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