Date of Award

Spring 2004

Document Type

Restricted Thesis

Terms of Use

© 2004 María C. Alvarez. All rights reserved. Access to this work is restricted to users within the Swarthmore College network and may only be used for non-commercial, educational, and research purposes. Sharing with users outside of the Swarthmore College network is expressly prohibited. For all other uses, including reproduction and distribution, please contact the copyright holder.

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


History Department

First Advisor

Bruce Dorsey


In her thesis, Alvarez explores the relationship between the sterilizations of Native American women in the 1960s and ‘70s and larger genocidal processes perpetrated against Native American people and their culture. She argues, based largely on Master’s theses and articles, that these sterilizations were part of the long history of genocide, racism, and classism in the United States, regardless of the intent of individual doctors. Alvarez examines failures of communication across cultures and the assumption that sterilization benefits women in poverty, whether or not they agree, and paints a picture of the genocidal process that deprived communities of future generations.