Death stalks the Yakama
epidemiological transitions and mortality on the Yakama Indian Reservation, 1888-1964
Publication Year: 1997
Clifford Trafzer's disturbing new work, Death Stalks the Yakama, examines life, death, and the shockingly high mortality rates that have persisted among the fourteen tribes and bands living on the Yakama Reservation in the state of Washington. The work contains a valuable discussion of Indian beliefs about spirits, traditional causes of death, mourning ceremonies, and memorials. More significant, however, is Trafzer's research into heretofore unused parturition and death records from 1888-1964. In these documents, he discovers critical evidence to demonstrate how and why many reservation people died in "epidemics" of pneumonia, tuberculosis, and heart disease.
Death Stalks the Yakama, takes into account many variables, including age, gender, listed causes of death, residence, and blood quantum. In addition, analyses of fetal and infant mortality rates as well as crude death rates arising from tuberculosis, pneumonia, heart disease, accidents, and other causes are presented. Trafzer argues that Native Americans living on the Yakama Reservation were, in fact, in jeopardy as a result of the "reservation system" itself. Not only did this alien and artificial culture radically alter traditional ways of life, but sanitation methods, housing, hospitals, public education, medicine, and medical personnel affiliated with the reservation system all proved inadequate, and each in its own way contributed significantly to high Yakama death rates.
Published by: Michigan State University Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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The present work is an outgrowth of my previous research on various Indian tribes living on the Columbia River Plateau. In 1977, I began research on a book dealing with the history of the Palouse Indians of eastern Washington. During the course of my research, I traveled west with my colleague, Richard D...
PART ONE INTRODUCTION
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Death Stalks the Yakama reflects my interest in an interdisciplinary approach to Native American history, using documents and methodologies of social history, religious studies, anthropology, sociology, oral history, and oral literature. It is hoped that this approach contributes to scholarly inquiry about native peoples...
PART TWO THE YAKAMA
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From Lake Keeschelus in the Cascade Mountains of west central Washington state flows a magnificent river. It snakes its way southeasterly through evergreen forests and into an open, rolling valley. The river cuts across a portion of the Great Columbia Plateau and receives the water of dozens of...
PART THREE YAKAMA DEATH CERTIFICATES: THEORETICAL AND METHODOLOGICAL ORIENTATIONS
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Death Stalks the Yakama is an outgrowth of work on the history of the Palouse Indians, native people who once lived along the� Snake River from roughly west of what is today Clarkston, Washington, to Pasco, Washington. In the process of doing...
PART FOUR COMPARISON OF YAKAMA DEATH RATES WITH OTHER POPULATIONS
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Over half of the deaths on the Yakama Reservation between 1888 and 1964 resulted from three major causes, namely tuberculosis, pneumonia, and heart disease (figure 1.2). Comparisons made here in relation to deaths from these diseases are drawn...
PART FIVE CONCLUSION
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Yakama Reservation underwent major epidemiological and nutritional transitions over time. They have survived radical cultural changes, the difficulties of a white invasion of their lands, and the trials that ensued after the imposition of the Yakama Treaty of 1855. The harvest of the American invasion...
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Page Count: 278
Publication Year: 1997