[I]n 1976, the General Accounting Office (GAO) released a report studying 4 of the 12 areas serviced by IHS (Albuquerque, Phoenix, Aberdeen, and Oklahoma City). According to this report, 3,001 Native women of childbearing age, or approximately 5 percent of all Native women of childbearing age in these areas, were sterilized between 1973 to 1976. Of these sterilizations, the GAO reported that 36 were performed on women under the age of 21, despite a court-ordered moratorium on such procedures.
Native activists have argued that the percentage of Native women sterilized is much higher, Dr. Uri conducted an investigation of sterilization policies in Claremore, Oklahoma, and charged that the Claremore facility was sterilizing one women for every seven births that occurred in the hospital. She claimed that132 women had been sterilized in 1973, 100 of them nontherapeutic. And in July 1974, Uri found 48 Native women, most of them in their twenties, who had been sterilized.
Unlike the GAO report, her investigation did not rely only on hospital records, but on interviews with women who had been sterilized. Consequently, her numbers are much higher than the GAO’s report of Native women in the Oklahoma City IHS area.Her investigations led her to conclude that 25 percent of Native women had been sterilized in that same area without their informed consent. She also charged that “all the pureblood women of the Kaw tribe of Oklahoma have now been sterilized. Other activists have reported even higher numbers. Women of All Red Nations (WARN) issued an alert stating that close to 50 percent of Indian women had been sterilized in the 1970s. Native rights activist Lehman Brightman asserts that 40 percent of Native women and 10 percent of Native men were sterilized during the decade. Pat Bellanger of WARN contends that sterilization rates were as high as 80 percent on some reservations.
Andrea Smith, Conquest: Sexual Violence and American Indian Genocide (via thecurvature)
- these are the kinds of things settlers need to learn, so they can stop denying that colonisation and cultural genocide stopped in the distant past.