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 this accessible and innovative work, 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.