In 1898, Congress passed a bill creating the only ‘Institution for Insane Indians’ in the United States. The Canton Indian Insane Asylum, South Dakota (sometimes called Hiawatha Insane Asylum) opened for the reception of patients in January, 1903.

Many of the inmates were not mentally ill. Native Americans risked being confined in the asylum for alcoholism, opposing government or business interests, or for being culturally misunderstood. A 1927 investigation conducted by the Bureau of Indian Affairs determined that a large number of patients showed no signs of mental illness. The asylum was closed in 1934. While open, more than 350 patients were detained there, in terrible conditions. At least 121 died.

Land was set aside for a cemetery, but the Indian Office decided that stone markers for graves would be an unwarranted expense. Today, the cemetery (121 names) is located in the middle of a golf course in Canton. No one knows the cause of death of the incarcerated or why they were even at the asylum. The National Park Service has recently added the cemetery to the National Register of Historic Places.

This page covers all patients interred in Canton Asylum during the year of 1911.

June 28, 1911 Patients

NameAgeSexFamily Relationship
Bigmane, Joseph24MaleSingle
Blue Sky66FemaleMarried
Brien, Jule42MaleMarried
Brings-the-Arrow, John47MaleMarried
Brown, John44MaleMarried
Crane, Lucy80FemaleWidower
Davis, Eliza L.35FemaleUnknown
Deere, Amos62MaleMarried
Gladstone, Lucy L.32FemaleMarried
Eldridge, Emily,50FemaleMarried
Gregory, Emma44FemaleMarried
Hall, John41MaleMarried
Hallock, Jessie28FemaleSingle
Harris, Mellum70FemaleUnknown
Harrison, Steve36MaleSingle
Hathorn, James13MaleSingle
Hedges, Edward41MaleDivorced
Houle, Cynia48FemaleMarried
Iron, Herbert33MaleSingle
Jordan, Joseph52MaleWidower
McCarthy, Willie29MaleSingle
McIntosh, Louiza55FemaleWidow
Maria, Lupe21FemaleSingle
Marlow, George25MaleSingle
Marshall, Joseph D.32MaleSingle
Nakai, Yezza34MaleMarried
Pother, Louisa35FemaleMarried
Roubideaux, Davis24MaleSingle
Sheayounena, Minnie20FemaleMarried
Sheppard, Richard38MaleSingle
Smith, Frank37MaleWidower
Spicer, Kittie22FemaleMarried
Starr, Frank22MaleSingle
Taylor, Joseph22MaleSingle
Taylor, Lulu36FemaleWidow
Thompson, Robert33MaleSingle
Three Striker66MaleSingle
Turpin, Peter18MaleSingle
Tom, Bob46MaleMarried
Two Crows, James18MaleSingle
Vipont, Lizzie35FemaleMarried
Waite, Emily42FemaleSingle
Wash, Rose61FemaleSingle
Washington, Mannie23FemaleWidow
Wells, Josephine27FemaleSingle
Wolf, Arch36MaleSingle
Womack, Mrs.89FemaleWidow

Source: Commission of Indian Affairs, Washington DC, 1910