26. Diane Pearson thoroughly documents how the U.S. government implemented the vaccination program for Indians begun in 1832. Pearson writes: "by the end of 1839 ... the estimated minimum total of administered vaccinations is 38,745" (p. 15). This minimum estimate does not include vaccinations conducted under treaty agreements, nor does it include vaccinations from the Western superintendency. Pearson estimates the upper limit at "around 54,416" Indians vaccinated by the federal government (p. 17). This "upper limit," however, does not include the many vaccinations given by representatives of the fur trading companies and other private initiatives. While Pearson is extremely skeptical about the government's motivations, and critical about the efficiency and objectivity of the vaccination program, nowhere does she support Churchill's contentions whatsoever, that vaccine languished in storerooms, much less that the Army gifted smallpox blankets to purposefully infect Indians. Pearson effectively puts the lie to Churchill's "storeroom" fabrication by describing and documenting the vaccination program in detail, and enumerating the many thousands of vaccinations given to a variety of tribes. There is overwhelming evidence that the inoculation program was widely implemented. Meanwhile, Churchill offers no evidence at all to support his claims that the Army hoarded vaccine in storerooms, and that vaccine was available at Fort Clark in 1837 but withheld by Churchill's fictional post surgeon.

 [ return to text ]