“Who Has Given More Than The Indian?”

The following photo essay and accompanying poem were recently discovered in an accession of Indian Health Service records. The work appears to be attributed to Mr. Allan Cayous. The content and captions are all original to the author and the intended order of presentation has been preserved in this blog post to the best of my ability.

Allan Cayous was heavily involved in efforts to improve the plight of Native American populations throughout the United States. He actively and ambitiously advocated for change. In addition to a career in the Indian Health Service, Mr. Cayous served on several national task forces. In the mid-1970’s, Mr. Cayous became a Task Force Specialist serving on Task Force No. 6 on Indian Health. This task force was part of the American Indian Policy Review Commission and was concerned with “current health standards for the American Indian and Native Alaska, federal responsibility for Indian health and investigation of Indian Health Service, [and] alternative sources of health care, e.g., traditional medicine, national health insurance.” (Public Law 93-580, 1975). In the 1980’s, he served as a staff member on the Secretary’s Task Force on Black and Minority Health. This task force was “conceived in response to a national paradox of phenomenal scientific achievement and steady improvement in overall health status, while at the same time, persistent, significant health inequities […] for minority Americans.” (Report of the Secretary’s Task Force on Black & Minority Health, 1989).

Why this intimate composition was created and preserved is uncertain. No contextual information regarding the images and poem survive with the materials today. Any clues as to the dates, locations, and subjects of the photos and any hints as to the purpose of the work have long since been lost.





You have taken our land

You have changed our lives

destroying what was once our ways

You have taken our children

and forced them to live as you live

You have taken our young people

to fight in wars where many have died

far from home.

All this and more have happened to us

Yet when we receive help from the Indian Health Service

The Bureau of Indian Affairs

Or anyone

I see in your eyes

and hear in your voice

The belief that you are giving us

something for nothing

You government people should think about this

and then answer me one question

Who has given more than The Indian?

513-AS-18-14-11: Allan Cayous, Indian Health Service

Find these and other materials in RG 513-AS, which will soon be available to researchers at College Park, MD. The images in this blog will be made available in the National Archives Catalog shortly.


Resources consulted in the writing of this blog post include:

Tundra Times. Wednesday, May 19, 1976

The Impact of IS Tribal Evaluation Contracts

Report of the Secretary’s Task Force on Black & Minority Health

American Indian Policy Review Commission

The Indian Policy Review Commission

Indian Health Service Agency Overview

7 thoughts on ““Who Has Given More Than The Indian?”

  1. Fascinating, Wish I could somehow help. But I am 90 years old and in poor health.
    Thank you for making me aware.
    Earl Zwicker

      1. My name is Dr Mark Fromer. I worked with Dr Paul Owens for more than ten years ginning in the early nineties . He went back to medical school and later became a pediatric ophthalmologist. He also took on general eye care patients in Manhattan and Queens. The only thing bigger than his 6 foot 6 frame was his heart. He retired about ten years ago and spent much of his time between Rio de Janeiro and Pennsylvania. He was a giving soul. He is reachable I think.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to read the post, and also for sharing your reactions to the poem and photo essay.

    1. Hi! I am so glad you found these materials engaging! He does seem like a fascinating individual, and I would also like to know more about his story. Unfortunately, as is often the case, we did not receive much information about Mr. Cayous aside from his photo. If any readers out there are inspired to research Mr. Cayous, please feel free to share his story with us!

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