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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1905, Part I

Reports concerning Indians in Arizona,   pp. 156-180 PDF (12.1 MB)

Page 165

/'As to sanitary conditions among the Oraibi, the physician, Dr. Chas. W.
sells, reports as follows: 
My residence among these people covers a period of only four months. As with
Indians, a stranger is avoided, if possible; so that some time was necessary
before I was 
accepted and my endeavors appreciated. 
The general health of the Indians has been good. No contagious diseases occurred,
except conjunctivitis, and a few cases of chickenpox in one of the smaller
villages. A 
great many sore eyes are always present, and, as there seems to be no way
to isolate any 
of these cases, it is our worst foe. With water 2 miles away, the small quantity
obtained is not willingly used for washing; consequently the diseases. A
plentiful supply 
of good water within easy access of the villages would make wonderful improvement
health, especially of the children. 
As to the sanitation of the villages, much credit is due to the field matrons,
insist on keeping the streets and houses clean. In Oraibi two large cesspools
have been 
completely filled and are now on level with surrounding streets. Were it
not for the 
numerous dogs and burros, which keep the streets in filthy condition, the
whole com- 
munity would be in fairly good shape. 
The houses, especially in winter, are not sanitary. A large family sleeping
in one 
room, tightly closed, is not according to sanitary rules. But what of 30
or 40 school 
children confined for hours in a very small room, with low ceilings and no
except windows? A new modern building, large enough to accommalate the children,
another building to relieve congestion in present rooms, is badly needed.
Tuberculosis in some form is by far the greatest cause of death among the
children. In the past four months there have been 38 birtths and 13 deaths.
The report of Dr. Jacob Breid, physician at Keams Canyon, says: 
There have been but few cases of seidous illness during the year. There were
two cases 
of pneumonia, one of which recovered, and the other was sent to his home,
where he 
died. Seven children were excused on account of tuberculosis; two of these
have died, 
one has quite recovered, and the others are improving. A number of cases
of influenza 
developed, but these were mild in form and short in duration. Acute conjunctivitis
present the greater part of the year, but all have recovered or very much
improved. There 
is great need of a hospital where these cases can be isolated and given the
care and treat- 
ment they require. 
The demand for medical treatment among the Indians at the Mesa villages has
creased a great deal. The "medicine man " is still present, but
he is becoming less 
antagonistic as he observes the efficiency of certain remedies. It is natural
for him to 
oppose anything that will eventually destroy his business. 
A number of cases of influenza and pneumonia occurred during the spring.
The heavy 
rains made their dirt-roofed, unventilated houses pools of mud and filth.
A hot fire 
filled these rooms with vapor, permeated by an odor that was extremely offensive.
changing of the fireplace for a stove, while a convenience, has permitted
the Indians to 
build houses without any means of ventilation. 
Venereal diseases and tuberculosis are very prevalent, and these are aided
by their 
practice of consanguinous marriage. Some parents find it very difficult and
others even 
impossible to rear children. 
At the First Mesa, population 671, there were 55 births, a rate of 8.2 per
cent; and 53 
deaths, a rate of 7.9 per cent. 
No statistics are available with regard to the Navaho, but I am sure that
the birth 
rate is lower and that the mortality is also lower. Tuberculosis is common,
but their 
general condition is better and their dwellings are far more sanitary. 
Superintendent and Special Disbursing Agent. 
I took charge of this school October 1, 1904, the whole force of employees
from Second 
Mesa day school being transferred here together. We found an enrollment and
of 153. The school was in most excellent condition and did honor to my predecessor.
During the year 13 pupils were transferred to the Keams Canyon school, 1
entered a 
white family in California, and 1 died. 
The progress of the pupils has been eminently satisfactory. Few schools can
such a complete condition of harmony among its employees, auid I believe
that it would 
be hard to find in the entire service more competent and faithful Indian
employees than 
are those at this school. 
The needs of the school are: (1) A water supply, our water now being hauled
a mile 
over deep sand; (2) a stable, enough hay having been ruined by water during
the year 
to have paid for a new roof; (3) a building for sewing room, laundry, and
A. H. VIETS, Principal Teacher. 
The literary department of this school has been in charge of three teachers.
were made throughout the year to get the children to use English in conversation.
is the hardest problem we had to face, and we did not meet with the degree
of success we 
anticipated. My assistants worked patiently and perseveringly, and credit
is due them 
for the results actually accomplished. 

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