And More Statistics

Menominee Indian Family, 1931

The government always liked to gather statistics (see last post), and Dr. Hummer was forced to complete many reports for the Commissioner of Indian Affairs. A report from June 30, 1924 gives a good snapshot of the institution. There were 50 males and 47 females from 31 different tribes; six patients were of unknown tribal affiliation. At the time of the report, the Sioux and Chippewa tribes were disproportionally represented; 19 patients were Sioux, and 14 were Chippewa. Statistics since opening told the same story: 68 Sioux had been admitted since 1902, 40 Chippewa, and 20 Menominee.

Though Hummer continually advocated for an epileptic cottage, epilepsy did not seem to be his biggest problem. Before the asylum closed, an independent doctor from St. Elizabeths noted that Hummer had lumped patients with any kind of convulsions into “epileptic” status, even though they were not truly epileptic. What Hummer really needed were good protocols and staff to care for lung issues. By 1924, the asylum had had 143 deaths. Fifty-one of them were from tuberculosis, and another 17 from some type of pneumonia. Only 14 patients had died of epileptic convulsions, with another four dying from exhaustion following convulsions.

Chippewa Indians in Ceremonial Dress, courtesy University of Minnesota, Duluth

Calvin Coolidge Meets with Sioux Indians from Rosebud Reservation on Lawn of White House, 1925



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *