Susan La Flesche Picotte

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Susan La Flesche Picotte
Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte
Born (1865-06-17)June 17, 1865
Omaha Reservation
Died September 18, 1915(1915-09-18) (aged 50)
Walthill, Nebraska
Ethnicity Omaha, Ponca, Iowa, French and Anglo-American descent
Education Hampton Institute, Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania
Occupation Physician
Known for The first American Indian woman to become a physician in the United States; founded the Dr. Susan LaFlesche Picotte Memorial Hospital

Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte (June 17, 1865 – September 18, 1915) was the first American Indian woman to become a physician and to receive federal aid for her professional education in the United States. She was Omaha and of Ponca, Iowa, French and Anglo-American descent. She grew up with her father Chief Joseph La Flesche (Iron Eyes) and her mother Mary (One Woman) on the Omaha Reservation in Nebraska. She gained her inspiration to pursue medicine after, while still a child, she witnessed a white doctor refuse treatment to an Indian women, leading to her death.

Susan La Flesche Picotte was homeschooled for a few years before she went to the Elizabeth Institute for Young Ladies in New Jersey. With the help and encouragement of ethnologist Alice Fletcher, she later went to college at the Hampton Institute and and pursued her medical career at the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania (WMCP) in Philadelphia. She graduated in 1889, earning her degree a year early and at the top of her class.

LaFlesche Picotte returned to Nebraska and provided health care to her Omaha people for much of her career. After her marriage to Henry Picotte in 1884, she established her private practice, where she also treated European-American patients. La Flesche Picotte and her husband had two sons. In 1906, she led a delegation in Washington, D.C., to lobby for alcohol prohibition in the Omaha Reservation. In 1913 she founded a hospital on the Omaha Reservation at Walthill, Nebraska, the first on any reservation to be privately funded. After LaFlesche Picotte died two years later, the hospital was renamed in her honor. Later it was designated as a National Historic Landmark. Today it serves as a museum featuring her work and the history of the Omaha and Winnebago tribes, and also has a center for the care of children.



  1. ^ "Picotte Memorial Hospital". National Park Service. Retrieved 2011-08-20.
  2. ^ "Sacred Child Project". Omaha Nation Community Response Team. Retrieved 2011-08-20.
  3. ^ "Susan La Flesche Picotte Memorial Hospital". Nebraska State Historical Society.. Retrieved 2010-07-11.
  4. ^ Hendee, David. "Picotte home makes historic registry", Omaha World-Herald, 2010-01-31, Retrieved 2010-07-11
  5. ^ "Picotte Elementary". Omaha Public Schools. Retrieved 2012-05-20. The website does not give the school's namesake explicitly; but note the name "Susan L. Picotte School" in the photo of the building.

Further Reading[edit]

Mathes, Valerie Sherer (June 1993). "Susan LaFlesche Picotte, M.D.: Nineteenth-Century Physician and Reformer". Great Plains Quarterly 13 (3): 172–186. 

Mathes, Valerie Sherer (December 1982). "Susan LaFlesche Picotte: Nebraska's Indian Physician, 1865-1915". Nebraska History 63 (4): 502–530. 

Tong, Benson. Susan La Flesche Picotte, M.D.: Omaha Indian leader and reformer (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1999).

External links[edit]