Susan BurchApr 14, 2023
Remembering Native Kinship in and Beyond Institutions
University of North Carolina Press 2021
Between 1902 and 1934, the United States confined hundreds of adults and children from dozens of Native nations at the Canton Asylum for Insane Indians, a federal psychiatric hospital in South Dakota. But detention at the Indian Asylum, as families experienced it, was not the beginning or end of the story. For them, Canton Asylum was one of many places of imposed removal and confinement, including reservations, boarding schools, orphanages, and prison-hospitals. Despite the long reach of institutionalization for those forcibly held at the Asylum, the tenacity of relationships extended within and beyond institutional walls.
In Committed: Remembering Native Kinship in and Beyond Institutions (UNC Press, 2021), Susan Burch tells the story of the Indigenous people—families, communities, and nations, across generations to the present day—who have experienced the impact of this history. Drawing on oral history interviews, correspondence, material objects, and archival sources, Burch reframes the histories of institutionalized people and the places that held them. Committed expands the boundaries of Native American history, disability studies, and U.S. social and cultural history generally.
Susan Burch is a professor of American Studies. Before joining the Middlebury faculty in 2009, she taught at Gallaudet University, King’s College (University of Aberdeen, Scotland), and the Ohio State University. Professor Burch also has worked as a research associate at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. She earned her BA degree in history and Soviet Studies from Colorado College and her MA and PhD in American and Soviet history from Georgetown University.
Shu Wan is currently matriculated as a doctoral student in history at the University at Buffalo. As a digital and disability historian, he serves in the editorial team of Digital Humanities Quarterly and Nursing Clio.