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Myla Vicenti Carpio

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The Lost Generation: American Indian Women and Sterilization Abuse

This article examines the sterilization abuses perpetrated by Indian Health Services in the 1990s. It argues that this abuse reflects a larger genocidal project against American Indians. It also examines the U.S. federal government’s investigations into this abuse and contends that these investigations also disenfranchised American Indian women. Using secondary sources, the author reviews and summarizes evidence of abuse by health authorities of Native American women’s reproductive rights. The article focuses on the 1990s, but it also recapitulates evidence from the 1970s. It includes valuable personal testimony. It is argued that abusive sterilization of American Indian women was motivated by genocidal policies and efforts to limit “the next generation of colonial resistance.” The author should take into account contradictions within sterilization campaigns or explore how indigenous organizations relate to issues regarding reproduction.

American Indian, women, sterilization, genocide, violence, reproductive rights

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 31, No. 4 (2004): 40-53.