Indian Health Indian health service was another responsibility that the federal government wanted to relinquish. Congressional approval of P.L. 568 authorized transferring Indian health facilities and services to another federal department, Public Health Service. The legislation established July 1, 1955 as the transfer deadline to affect 3,6OO employees & a real property value estimated close to $4O,OOO,OOO involving 97O widely scattered buildings of 56 hospitals in 13 states & Alaska, 21 health centers & 13 boarding school infirmaries. Commissioner Emmons & Minnesota Sen Hubert Humphrey claimed the move would improve health care for American Indians. Many Indians felt uncomfortable applying for health services alongside non-Indian citizens, red tape & excessive paper work compounded their uneasiness. For treatment, they turned to native cures as an alternative or they did without professional health treatment. Still, statistics for the next 10 years indicated a dire need for health care. Disease and fatality rates were extraordinarily high among the Indians pop. Indians were 3 times more likely to die of pneumonia & influenza than white Americans. Hepatitis ranked 8 times greater among Indians than any other ethnic group & Indian infant mortality, tuberculosis & alcoholism rates were the highest in the nation. Overall, American Indians had a life expectancy of 44 years compared to 70 yrs for white Americans. Federal policy-makers hypothesized that by dissolving Indian health services, Indian Americans would start relying on public services like the Public Health Service or even private health care centers. In actuality, they avoided public health services. Many Indians believed that they were socially unacceptable to the mainstream population, for even among financially, independent Indians, many individuals experienced social maladjustments, feelings of discomfort living in non-Indian neighborhoods & uneasiness working alongside strangers. The cities were alien environments, with their tall buildings, strange noises and crowds of people, that a large number of relocatees elected to return to their quiet, less populated reservations to escape the tension and anxiety of urban adjustment. ?Urban Indian? after WW II Most important, the federal Indian policy of termination and relocation produced the urban Indian. Actually the government began relocating Indians to urban areas in 1952 before it began terminating tribal communities of their trust status. As more Indians moved to urban areas, a critical change occurred among Indians as their tribal communities began to dissolve. This urbanization movement among American Indians challenged the perpetuity of the tribal communities as the Indian population shifted from rural areas to the towns and cities. Federal officials presumed that urbanization would assimilation American Indians into the mainstream, but it created an urban Indian population which formed enclaves of Indian neighborhoods in the cities. Usually in poor sections of cities, Indians lived here where they could afford the rent rates. Urban Indians remained community oriented, but they underwent a significant transformation of forming Indian communities rather than tribal communities. But in essence, the Indian communities in urban areas began to take on their own identities like the communities on reservations had their own tribal identities. In all this traditional communalism transformed into a modern Indian communalism, creating a dual identity for Indian America of reservation Indians and urban Indians. CIA Dillon S. Myer Truman's philosophy on desegregation impacted Indian communities through the Bureau of Indian Affairs when he appointed Dillon S. Myer, a republican from Ohio and a hardened assimilationist, to be the new Commissioner of Indian Affairs. His appointment aroused some controversy when qualified Indians for the Commissioner's position were bypassed, provoking Indian groups and pro-Indian supporters to criticize Myer's appointment, particularly when previous Indian Commissioner John Nichols had not been notified that he was being replaced. Myer shared the same ideas on Indian affairs as President Truman of equal opportunity for all, but he was also regarded as a hard-line assimilationist and believed that termination would free Indians from federal trust restrictions. Furthermore, Myer was a headstrong advocate of dissolving "needless" Indian programs, and he strove to terminate trust relations in order to mainstream Indians. His previous experience as the Director of the War Relocation Authority, a program that had moved Japanese-Americans from the west coast to inland concentration camps during the war gave cause for his critics to worry. At fifty-nine years of age, Myer operated in his usual stern, forceful manner. Out to get the job quickly done, he focused immediately on terminating trust relationships and reducing federal-Indian services. Myer's sudden actions and ardent terminationist belief upset citizens who criticized the Bureau of Indian Affairs for abruptly dissolving its responsibilities to Indian Americans. Pro-Indian supporters charged the Commissioner with expediting termination of federal trust relations with tribes who were not ready, and they claimed he abused his authority. Myer's critics referred to him as "Stalin" and "Mussolini" rolled into one, and called him a "tin-headed dictator." Ignoring his critics, Commissioner Myer made enemies and they called for his removal, especially during the presidential election of 1952 when Dwight D. Eisenhower became the new President of the United States.
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