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We Are Left So Much Alone to Work Out Our Own Problems: Nurses on American Indian Reservations During the 1930s

We Are Left So Much Alone to Work Out Our Own Problems: Nurses on American Indian Reservations... "We Are Lefi So Much Alone to Work Out Our Own Problems" Nurses on American Indian Reservations During the x g 30s EMILY K. ABBL Schooi of Public Health University of California, Los hgdes Despite the merit fl~wering of public h4th btory, federal American Indian health policy has reccivad little attwtion. As Richard k Msckel writes, "[I] f there is a monograph in desperate need of bemg written, it is one that wdl describe and analyze federal public health activity on Indian reservations."' Nurses hired by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) provide a gmd place to begin, because they were responsible for dispensing the great bulk of government health services to American Indians on reserva- tions. This essay discusses these nurses and their work during rhe 193os, focuslog on their goals, &e obstacles they encountered, and the ~CMM- modations they made. The BIA nursing service grew rapidly during the 1g3os, &om 196 in 1929 to 596 in 1939. Approximately onefourth of those in the dce were public health nurses, dubbed %eld nurses" m differentiate them from nurses employed by the Public Health Servi~e.~ In 1922, the BIA mmrnis- sioned the American Red Cross to investigate the need for http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Nursing History Review Springer Publishing

We Are Left So Much Alone to Work Out Our Own Problems: Nurses on American Indian Reservations During the 1930s

Nursing History Review , Volume 4 (1): 22 – Jan 1, 1996

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Publisher
Springer Publishing
ISSN
1062-8061
eISSN
1938-1913
DOI
10.1891/1062-8061.4.1.43
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

"We Are Lefi So Much Alone to Work Out Our Own Problems" Nurses on American Indian Reservations During the x g 30s EMILY K. ABBL Schooi of Public Health University of California, Los hgdes Despite the merit fl~wering of public h4th btory, federal American Indian health policy has reccivad little attwtion. As Richard k Msckel writes, "[I] f there is a monograph in desperate need of bemg written, it is one that wdl describe and analyze federal public health activity on Indian reservations."' Nurses hired by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) provide a gmd place to begin, because they were responsible for dispensing the great bulk of government health services to American Indians on reserva- tions. This essay discusses these nurses and their work during rhe 193os, focuslog on their goals, &e obstacles they encountered, and the ~CMM- modations they made. The BIA nursing service grew rapidly during the 1g3os, &om 196 in 1929 to 596 in 1939. Approximately onefourth of those in the dce were public health nurses, dubbed %eld nurses" m differentiate them from nurses employed by the Public Health Servi~e.~ In 1922, the BIA mmrnis- sioned the American Red Cross to investigate the need for

Journal

Nursing History ReviewSpringer Publishing

Published: Jan 1, 1996

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