Surname: Wah-be-she-she-quay

The Indian Asylum in Canton, South Dakota in 1905

Canton Asylum, 1910, List of Patients

In 1898, Congress passed a bill creating the only ‘Institution for Insane Indians’ in the United States. The Canton Indian Insane Asylum, South Dakota (sometimes called Hiawatha Insane Asylum) opened for the reception of patients in January, 1903. Many of the inmates were not mentally ill. Native Americans risked being confined in the asylum for alcoholism, opposing government or business interests, or for being culturally misunderstood. A 1927 investigation conducted by the Bureau of Indian Affairs determined that a large number of patients showed no signs of mental illness. The asylum was closed in 1934. While open, more than 350