Between 1902 and 1934, hundreds of Native American men, women, and children were institutionalized at the Canton Asylum for Insane Indians; only nine of...

Between 1902 and 1934, hundreds of Native American men, women, and children were institutionalized at the Canton Asylum for Insane Indians; only nine of them, however, were officially committed by court order. In Vanished in Hiawatha: The Story of the Canton Asylum for Insane Indians (University of Nebraska Press, 2016), independent scholar Carla Joinson examines the history of the only insane asylum in United States history dedicated solely to the institutionalization of Native Americans. Vanished in Hiawatha further connects the establishment of the Canton Asylum with efforts to assimilate Indigenous populations during the first three decades of the twentieth century, and considers how and why the institution remained open for three decades, given the ongoing mismanagement and mistreatment of Native patients at the facility.


Samantha M. Williams is a PhD candidate in History at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is currently writing her dissertation, which examines the history of the Stewart Indian School in Carson City, Nevada through the lenses of settler colonialism and public history. She can be reached at [email protected].

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