Tuberculosis among Certain Indian Tribes of the United States

Tuberculosis among Certain Indian Tribes of the United States

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Tuberculosis among Certain Indian Tribes of the United States

Tuberculosis among Certain Indian Tribes of the United States

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Excerpt

The accompanying paper by Dr. Aleš Hrdličkg presents a detailed account of the investigations made by him under the joint auspices of the office of Indian Affairs and the Smithsonian Institution, into the condition with regard to tuberculosis of five selected Indian tribes of the United States. An exhibit and a preliminary account of this work were submitted by Doctor Hrdlička to the Sixth International Congress on Tuberculosis at its session held at Washington in September and October, 1908. In the investigation above referred to, which took place in 'the summer of 1908, Doctor Hrdlička was assisted by Dr. P. B. Johnson, bacteriologist.

While the gravity of the conditions dealt with in this paper, from the standpoint of the physical well-being of both the Indians and the whites, is generally understood and appreciated by intelligent students of the subject, the serious and often insurmountable difficulties encountered by the Office of Indian Affairs in its task of devising and applying corrective measures are not always so readily recognized. In some cases the difficulty is the lack of necessary legislation; in some, the impracticability of exercising sufficiently close supervision over even those Indians disposed to accept the white man's counsel; in still other cases the compulsory measures which would be necessary to bring about the desired result do not have the sanction of Congress or of public opinion.

These are, briefly, a few of the obstacles which stand in the way of those who are seeking to lead the Indians in the paths of civilization and to promote their sanitary condition. Under these circumstances, it is gratifying to know that, at no previous time in its history, has the Office of Indian Affairs been more awake to the true state of affairs, and that, through its agency, as stated by Doctor Hrdlička, "improvement of existing conditions is being brought about as speedily as is practicable." Indeed, since the accompanying paper was written, changes in the service looking to the betterment of the Indian have been made, and there is every reason to expect a continuation of progress toward more sanitary living among the Indians with a consequent diminution of the ravages of tuberculosis and other diseases.

W. H. HOLMES, Chief . . .

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