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 1921.

June 30, 1921 Male Patients

1Blackeye, JamesChippewaRed LakeMinnesota
2Blair, Andrew BraySiouxRosebudS. Dakota
3Brown, JohnSiouxSanteeNebraska
4Carpenter, Joseph,SiouxCheyenneS. Dakota
5Charley, CreepingPiuteNevadaNevada
6Clafflin, PeterMenomineeKeshenaWisconsin
7Davis, GeorgeCreekMuskogeeOklahoma
8Fairbanks, RichardChippewaLeech LakeMinnesota
9Graves, AnsonChippewaRed LakeMinnesota
10Gray Blanket, JohnSiouxPine RidgeS. Dakota
11Harrison, SteveSac & FoxSac & FoxOklahoma
12Hawk, CharlesSiouxPine RidgeS. Dakota
13Hayes, RobertChippewaTurtle MountainN. Dakota
14Henry, George H.ChippewaTurtle MountainN. Dakota
15Howling Horse, JohnSiouxPine RidgeS. Dakota
16Kentuck, PeterHoopaHoopa ValleyCalifornia
17Leve Leve, EarlWalapaiTruxton CanonArizona
18Littlewind, AlfredSiouxFort TottenN. Dakota
19McCarter, WattCherokeeMuskogeeOklahoma
20McEwin, JoeCherokeeUnionOklahoma
21Mahkimetass, Earl F.MenomineeKeshenaWisconsin
22Marlow, GeorgeSiouxSissetonS. Dakota
23Masten, JohnKlamathHoopa ValleyCalifornia
24Meachem, AbrahamMakahNeah BayWashington
25Mendoza, JuanPapagoSellsArizona
26Moccasin Top, OscarSiouxPine RidgeS. Dakota
27Moore, AloysiusSiouxRosebudS. Dakota
28Nakai YezzaNavajoWestern NavajoArizona
29Padilla, FidelPuebloNo. PuebloNew Mexico
30Red Rock, BenjaminSiouxPine RidgeS. Dakota
31Ree, AmosSiouxYanktonS. Dakota
32Romero, JamesSiouxPine RidgeS. Dakota
33Root, JackChippewaLa PointeWisconsin
34Scabby Robe, SamBlackfeetBlackfeetMontana
35Scott, Robert, Jr.,PiuteWalker RiverNevada
36Sheppard, RichardCherokeeUnionOklahoma
37Smith, MattChemehueveColorado River.Arizona
38Stands by him, LukeSiouxRosebudS. Dakota
39Sweet Medicine, JacobN. CheyenneTongue RiverMontana
40Thompson, RobertQuapawSenecaOklahoma
41Turpin, PeterChippewaWhite EarthMinnesota
42Two TeethSiouxCrow CreekS. Dakota
43Wauketch, EdwardMenomineeKeshenaWisconsin
44Wauketch, SeymourMenomineeKeshenaWisconsin
45Zimmerman, AlexSiouxCheyenneS. Dakota
Source: Commission of Indian Affairs, Washington DC, 1910