Posts Tagged ‘Vermont Commission on Indian Affairs’
Dave Gram of the Associated Press writes not just about the apology being considered by Vermont lawmakers, but about the state’s sorry history in targeting its Native residents, as well as some others, for sterilization:
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — If the state of Vermont had carried out a plan to sterilize his grandmother, Don Stevens said Tuesday, he “wouldn’t be here.”
Many Vermonters of mixed French Canadian and Native American heritage, like Stevens’ grandmother, as well as poor, rural whites, were placed on a state-sanctioned list of “mental defectives” and degenerates in the 1930s and placed in state institutions like the Home for the Feeble Minded in Brandon.
Some had surgery after Gov. Stanley Wilson in 1931 won enactment of a sterilization law. It was designed to reduce the number of people seen as placing demands on public services, and to purify what University of Vermont zoology professor Henry Perkins, a national leader of the so-called “eugenics” movement, called “the fine old stock of original settlers in Vermont.”
Now the Vermont Legislature, which once endorsed breeding people like cattle, is considering a resolution expressing regret. It vows never to repeat “this dark chapter in Vermont’s history” and expresses the Legislature’s “profound sorrow and sincere regret that such a program of sterilization was sanctioned.”
Tags: Abenaki, buffalo post, eugenics, French-Canadian, Gov. Stanley Wilson, Henry Perkins, Home for the Feeble-Minded, Native American news, R-Northfield, racism, University of Vermont, Vermont Commission on Indian Affairs, Vermont Legislature, Vermont Rep. Anne Donahue