Archive: July2016

Charlotte Edith Anderson Monture- First Canadian Native American Nurse


Charlotte Edith Anderson Monture

1890 – 1996

   Two years and three months after the sinking of the H.M.S. Titanic, 1914, marked the start of yet another tragedy. This one would bond Allies, create enemies, change nations boundaries and take the lives of millions of young men. It was during this first year of World War I that Charlotte Edith Anderson Monture, an Ontario Mohawk, sought to begin her education in nursing. Charlotte, unable to secure a position in a Canadian nursing program, some say because of her nationality, found her place at the New Rochelle Hospital School of Nursing in New York. There, she graduated at the top of her class. Though she didn’t train in Canada, Charlotte is officially recognized as the first Canadian Native American woman to qualify as a nurse.

In 1917, the year the United States joined its Allies overseas, Ms. Monture enlisted in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps. According to the U.S. Army archives, 21,000 of the 25,000 women who served overseas belonged to the U.S. Army Nurse Corps. Of that number, however, Ms. Monture was only one of fourteen Native American Women to serve in the Corps overall, and only one of two that served overseas, (the other being Cora E. Sinnard {Onida}). For the duration of the war, Charlotte served at the U.S. Army Base Hospital 23 in Vittel, France.

Much of her experiences there have not been recorded for public viewing, but, the Army’s historical records show that its nurses served either at or near the front lines of battle and lived in bunkers or temporary encampments. There, they experience all the tragedies of war including shelling and mustard gas. One can only hope that she was one of the lucky few to serve behind the lines.
We do know that after the war, she returned to her home on the Six Nations Reserve in Ontario. There, she continued to care for her people as both nurse and midwife until her retirement in 1955. Strong of body and mind, Charlotte graced the world with her life until 1996, just before her 106th birthday.

#firstnativeamericannurse #usarmycorps #Mohawk #Monture #Onida #WWI

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