Drawing on an Indigenous genealogical map of Canton Asylum by Kay Davis (Bois Forte Chippewa), this chapter explores multiple family and tribal histories during the 19th and early 20th centuries to illustrate some of the wide-ranging and uneven backstories behind the institutionalizations of central figures in this book. Intersecting these are stories of rising settler forces, including the expansion of federal institutions and of scientific racism. The experiences of Seh-Tuk (Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation), Elizabeth Faribault, Amelia Moss (Caddo Nation), and other institutionalized people’s stories attest that histories of removals are more complicated than typically assumed.
Susan Burch is director and professor of American studies and a former director of the Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity at Middlebury College. She is the author of Signs of Resistance: American Deaf Cultural History, 1900 to 1942 (2002) and a coauthor, with Hannah Joyner, of Unspeakable: The Story of Junius Wilson (2007). Burch has coedited multiple anthologies in critical disability studies, including Women and Deafness: Double Visions (2006), Deaf and Disability Studies: Interdisciplinary Perspectives (2010), and Disability Histories (2014). She also served as editor-in-chief of The Encyclopedia of American Disability History (2009). She has earned grants and fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, National Archives, National Endowment for the Humanities, Mellon Foundation, and Fulbright Foundation. Her current work, titled “Committed: Native Self-determination, Kinship, Institutionalization, and Remembering,” (forthcoming with the University of North Carolina Press) centers on experiences inside and outside the Canton Asylum, a federal psychiatric institution created specifically for American Indigenous peoples.