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Torpy, S. J. . “Native American Women and Coerced Sterilization: On the Trail of Tears in the 1970s.” Am. Indian Cult. Res. j. 24, no. 2 (2000): 1–22.


In this article Torpy discusses how Native American women represented a unique class of victims that faced sterilization and reproductive abuses in the 1970s. She shares how these women were without full knowledge of the surgical procedure performed, and as a result many had to endure physical or psychological consequences. Torpy provides various examples of human rights violations that were committed against these women, and their families. She argues that Native American women were easier targets in comparison to other minorities because of their unique cultural and societal realities. As a result, fear was instilled in Native American women, who not only experience the carelessness of the health care and government officials, but also face a lack of access to quality health care and land base threats by the government. Torpy concludes by stating that Native American women are survivors and will continue to challenge the institutions in which they must coexist to preserve their culture, traditions and both their national and international sovereignty. Throughout her article Torpy addresses how many Native American women were a part of a massive and irreversibly sterilizations in the 1970s. To bring their sufferings and its history to the surface, she sets the article in a historical and political tone by referring to legislation and judicial cases such as Buck v. Bell (Virginia) and California’s Jessin v. County of Shasta (California).


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Race/ethnicity: Native American/Indigenous   Human rights   Sterilization