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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 the male patients interred in Canton Asylum during the year of 1924.

June 30, 1921 Female Patients

1Agusta, JoannaPapagoSellsArizona
2Amour, ChristineMenomineeKeshenaWisconsin
3Bite, RosaBlackfeetBlackfeetMontana
4Blanchard, MaggieChippewaHaywardWisconsin
5Caldwell, AgnesMenomineeKeshenaWisconsin
6Caldwell, BabyMenomineeKeshenaWisconsin
7Canoe, KateWinnebagoGrand RapidsWisconsin
8Dauphinais, MadelineChippewaTurtle MountainN. Dakota
9Davis, Eliza L.CherokeeUnionOklahoma
10DeCoteau, MargaretSiouxSissetonS. Dakota
11Drag ToesNavajoNavajoArizona
12Eldridge, EmilyBlackfeetBlackfeetMontana
13Ensign, MedaShoshoneShoshoneWyoming
14Faribault, ElizabethSiouxSissetonS. Dakota
15Fredericks, PisquoponokeMenomineeKeshenaWisconsin
16GondosayquayChippewaLeech LakeMinnesota
17Hallock, JessieCaddoKiowaOklahoma
18Houle, CypiaCreeTurtle MountainN. Dakota
19Ignation, MaryPapagoSellsArizona
21Kiger, No WalkPiuteNevadaNevada
22La Lakes, LeonaKlamathKlamathOregon
23Medicine, BlackGros VentresFt. BertholdN. Dakota
24Montriel, AdeleChippewaTurtle MountainN. Dakota
25Nicholson, MaggieGros VentresFt. BelknapMontana
27Pancho, MariePapagoSellsArizona
28Parker, MarieChippewaTongue RiverMontana
29Pecore, SophiaMenomineeKeshenaWisconsin
30Pejihutaskana, JosephineSiouxFt. TottenN. Dakota
31Pilon, CelinaChippewaRapid CityS. Dakota
32Porlier, LouisaMenomineeKeshenaWisconsin
33Seabolt, SallieCherokeeUnionOklahoma
34Sheayounena, MinnieHopiMoquiArizona
35Sheshequeam, CatherineMenomineeKeshenaWisconsin
36Smoke, AnniePiuteWarm SpringsOregon
37Spicer, KittieWyandotteSenecaOklahoma
38Taylor, LuluChippewaLeech LakeMinnesota
39Two TeethSiouxCrow CreekS. Dakota
40WahbesheshequayChippewaLeech LakeMinnesota
41Waite, EmilyChickasawUnionOklahoma
42Wash, RoseArickaraFt. BertholdN. Dakota
43Wauketch, MaryMenomineeKeshenaWisconsin
44Wishecoby, SusanMenomineeKeshenaWisconsin
45Yazza, ZonnaNavajoNavajoArizona

Source: Commission of Indian Affairs, Washington DC, 1910