Indian Country 52 #45 - Omaha Society Healer (Susan Picotte) - David Bernie
Indian Country 52 is a weekly project by David Bernie that uses the medium of posters that promote issues and stories in Indian Country.
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David Bernie Indian Country 52 45 Omaha Society Healer Susan La Flesche Picotte

Indian Country 52 #45 – Omaha Society Healer (Susan Picotte)

Articles

“In an era when women couldn’t vote and Native Americans were denied citizenship, Susan La Flesche shattered not just one barrier, but two, to become the first Native American woman doctor in the United States. A new book details how the 19th-century trailblazer overcame racial and gender biases in a white patriarchal world to graduate at the top of her medical school class, care for an entire reservation and raise children while pursuing a full-time career.

Eight-year-old Susan La Flesche sat at the bedside of an elderly woman, puzzled as to why the doctor had yet to arrive. After all, he had been summoned four times, and four times he had promised to come straight away. As the night grew longer, the sick woman’s breathing grew fainter until she died in agony before the break of dawn. Even to a young girl, the message delivered by the doctor’s absence was painfully clear: “It was only an Indian.”

That searing moment stoked the fire inside Susan to one day heal the fellow members of her Omaha tribe. “It has always been a desire of mine to study medicine ever since I was a small girl,” she wrote years later, “for even then I saw the need of my people for a good physician.””

– Topic USA, Remembering the First Native American Woman Doctor.

 

“Eight-year-old Susan La Flesche sat at the bedside of an elderly woman, puzzled as to why the doctor had yet to arrive. After all, he had been summoned four times, and four times he had promised to come straight away. As the night grew longer, the sick woman’s breathing grew fainter until she died in agony before the break of dawn. Even to a young girl, the message delivered by the doctor’s absence was painfully clear: “It was only an Indian.”

That searing moment stoked the fire inside Susan to one day heal the fellow members of her Omaha tribe. “It has always been a desire of mine to study medicine ever since I was a small girl,” she wrote years later, “for even then I saw the need of my people for a good physician.”

Born in a buckskin teepee on the Omaha Indian Reservation in northeast Nebraska on June 17, 1865, Susan was never given a traditional Omaha name by her mixed-race parents. Her father, Chief Joseph La Flesche (also known as “Iron Eye”), believed his children as well as his tribe were now living in a white man’s world in which change would be the only constant. “As the chief guardian of welfare, he realized they would have to adapt to white ways or simply cease to survive,” says Joe Starita, author of “A Warrior of the People: How Susan La Flesche Overcame Racial and Gender Inequality to Become America’s First Indian Doctor.” “He began an almost intense indoctrination of his four daughters. They would have to speak English and go to white schools.””

– History.com, Remembering the First Native American Woman Doctor.

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David Bernie Omaha Society Healer Susan La Flesche Picotte Indian Country 52 Week 44

David Bernie Omaha Society Healer Susan La Flesche Picotte Indian Country 52 Week 44

David Bernie Omaha Society Healer Susan La Flesche Picotte Indian Country 52 Week 44

 

Indian Country 52

Indian Country 52 is a weekly project by David Bernie that uses the medium of posters that promote issues and stories in Indian Country. Follow the series: Indian Country 52

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This work by David Bernie is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. You may download, share, and post the images under the condition that the works are attributed to the artist.

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Indian Country 52

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