Susan LaFlesche Picotte Facts

Susan LaFlesche Picotte Facts
Susan LaFlesche Picotte was the first Native American to become a doctor. She was born on June 17th, 1865, at the Omaha Reservation in the United States, to Joseph LaFlesche and Mary Gale, the daughter of an Army surgeon. Both of her parents were biracial, and did not always live on the reserve. Susan had three older sisters and an older half-brother. Her parents wanted her to have as much opportunity in the white world and did not give her an Omaha name. She began to be educated on the reservation and later at the Elizabeth Institute in Elizabeth, New Jersey. She returned to the reservation in 1882 to teach and then went to the Hampton Institute until 1886. After graduating she applied to medical school.
Interesting Susan LaFlesche Picotte Facts:
When Susan was a child she saw an Indian woman died because a white doctor would not help her. Some believe this motivated her to become a doctor.
It was not common for women to go to medical school in the late 1800s. Susan applied to the Women's Medical College of Pennsylvania and was accepted.
Susan's school was paid for by the Connecticut Indian Association, which sought to encourage Victorian virtues.
Susan became the first person in the U.S. to receive federal aid to pay for her professional education. She was required to remain single during her education and for several years afterwards to focus on her career.
Susan studied Obstetrics, Pharmaceutical science, physiology, anatomy, chemistry, and other subjects. She also participated in clinical work in Philadelphia.
Susan began to dress and appear more like her white classmates while attending medical school.
Susan LaFlesche graduated as valedictorian on March 14, 1889.
Susan applied to the Omaha Agency Indian School to be the government physician and was hired two months later.
During the first few years of practice in Nebraska the Association that had funded Susan's schooling also helped cover the costs of medical instruments and books.
As the government physician at the Omaha Agency Indian School Susan also took care of other sick members of the community. At the school she was supposed to teach the students about hygiene and keep them as healthy as possible.
Susan often made house calls in the community to tend to those who were ill. She saw patients with cholera, influenza, dysentery, and tuberculosis, among other illnesses.
In 1892 Susan became ill and was forced to take time off to recover.
In 1894 Susan met Henry Picotte, a Sioux Indian. They married that June. They had two sons together.
Susan continued to work after the birth of her sons, which was not common for women in those days.
Susan fought for prohibition on the reserves as her husband, like many others, was an alcoholic and this led to poor health for many.
Susan joined the temperance movement in 1906, a year after her husband died.
Susan raised enough money through private funding to open a hospital on the reserve in 1913.
Susan's health declined over the years and in 1915 she died of bone cancer.


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