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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the years 1921-1932
([1921-1932])

Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs to the Secretary of the Interior for the fiscal year ended June 2, 1921,   pp. [1]-69 ff. PDF (26.8 MB)


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COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS. 
knowledge which it can command to secure to future generations of 
Indians the best of all birthrights-the right to be well born and 
to possess sound minds in sound bodies. 
HEALTH EDUCATION.-If medical service for the Indians consisted 
only of the dispensing of medicine to those who are ill, the dklties 
would be very simple, notwithstanding their importance. But the 
Indian medical service is a social uplift service allied inseparably 
with its educational and industrial activities. 
The present administration is seeking to discourage a perfunctory 
response to duty and to fos-er a real, live, purposeful policy and 
determination to restore to a race its pristine health and virility by 
means of the application of the laws of preventive medicine, operat- 
ing through education, social uplift, and constructive science, as 
applied to nutrition, hygiene, and the relations of all the agencies 
under control that may improve or impair the racial qualities of 
future generations of Indians, either physically or mentally. The 
purpose of the Indian Service is to bring about gradual and per- 
manent improvement in the physical, mental, and moral nature of 
every Indian who may be influenced by the factors and conditions 
that promote favorable change. The hope of the Indian race lies 
in the children, and what we wish to appear in them must be taught 
in their schools. 
DISEASES.-The Indians are subject to the same diseases as white 
people. They have more trachoma and perhaps more tubercu- 
losis, but there are fewer venereal diseases, less diptheria and scar- 
let fever, and, as a rule, pneumonia is not so prevalent among them 
as it is among the whites. The problems of treatment and care of 
the Indian, however, differ in many respects from the treatment of 
white people. Tact and a knowledge of Indian nature, with expe- 
rience in the use of preventive measures, are as essential to the 
success of the service physician as an intimate understanding of 
medicine and surgery, and in this direction he may be greatly aided 
by the efficient field matron whose duties closely relate her to the 
family, especially the mothers and daughters, and who in her work 
for the improvement of home conditions is often able to locate 
many cases of disease and by skillful sympathy obtain the consent 
of the patient for medical treatment. 
EPIDEMICs.-Several reservations, particularly of those in the 
Southwest, have had visitations of measles, smallpox, chickenpox, 
mumps, scarlet fever, and influenza in an attenuated form. Some 
cases of sore throat with infection have also been present in a few 
communities. 
Several deaths resulted from bronchial pneumonia following 
measles, but there were no fatal issues from any of the other dis- 
eases named in the preceding paragraph. 
The epidemic situation with respect to these diseases was practi- 
cally clear at the close of the fiscal year. 
TYPHUS FEVER.-Typhus fever appeared on the San Juan Navajo 
Reservation about November 20, 1920, by introduction from a 
neighboring Republic. The disease occurred among the Indians, 
and, with the exception of Dr. Davis, a medical missionary of the 
Presbyterian Church, whose station was at Red Rock, and Dr. 
Graffin, agency physician at Shiprock, both of whom died, it has 
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