Title

"The Beds Are Full But All The Occupants Are Getting Better”: An Institutional History of Medicine at the Carlisle Indian School

Date of Award

5-22-2016

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Department

History

First Advisor

Christopher Bilodeau

Second Advisor

W. Evan Young

Language

English

Abstract

The Carlisle Indian School, which operated from 1879 to 1918 as an off-reservation boarding school for Native American children, has been well-studied as a site of cultural erasure and assimilation. However, the role of healthcare in the “civilizing” activities of the school has not received adequate scholarly attention. Using a variety of medical and non-medical sources, this thesis argues that medical care at the Carlisle Indian School was used as a tool for assimilation and institutional preservation. As a result, healthcare at Carlisle kept on par with contemporary biomedical developments, challenging the historiographical assumption that medical care at Indian schools generally was below acceptable standards for the day.

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