Thursday, March 27, 2008


Good day. Spoke with Steven M. Sachs Ph.D. today. He publishes a non-juried journal entitled "Indigenous Policy", . Interesting reading. Because of our conversation, I am thinking I might submit a small article about Oklahoma Indian families and their migration to Phoenix, Arizona in the 1940's.

Why you ask, well my own little Chickasaw family left the Sulpher area around that time and my grandmother, a lucky (?) Indian woman, found employment as a laundress at the Indian TB Sanitarium, in Phoenix. Because she had little education, granma was given the job of boiling soiled linens that bore sputum and blood stains from the lungs of TB infected patients in large pots on 110 degree days. It wasn't a perfect job but it was the only one she could find that provided both room and board for grandma and mom. They lived on the campus of the hospital and because there was no room for families my grandfather, and mom's older siblings, were forced to live elsewhere. Granma's paycheck supported them all. The impact on our family is representative of what was happening to other Indian families who left Oklahoma as a means of surviving the times. The family groups were fractured and irretrivably broken after only a few short years.

The question I have always wondered about is this, did the Indian health mangement policies of the time lead to the break down of our family or was it at an earlier time in Oklahoma with the loss of the land allotment that broke our family? Hmmmmm. Policy and indigenous folks... Genocide, granma tested positive for the scratch TB test for the rest of her life, and assimilation. Are they one and the same?

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