This hospital is named in honor of the first Native American woman physician. Dr. Picotte
(1865-1915) was the daughter of Mary Gale and Iron Eye, also known as Joseph La Flesche, the
last traditionally recognized chief of the Omaha tribe. She was educated at the Elizabeth Institute
for Young Women (Virginia) and The Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania, where she
graduated first in her class in 1889.
She returned to the Omaha Reservation to serve both the Native American and white
communities as a physician, civic leader, Native American rights activist, and outspoken
advocate of public health and sanitation. A dedicated physician despite a painful disease that
diminished her own health, Dr. Picotte was known for keeping a lighted lamp in the window of
her home to welcome patients in the night.
In 1913 she fulfilled her goal of establishing a hospital to serve the community of Walthill and
surrounding area. The hospital, which now houses the Susan La Flesche Picotte Center, was
placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988 and named a National Historic
Landmark in 1993.
Susan La Flesche Picotte Center, Inc.
Nebraska State Historical Society
U.S. 77, Walthill, mile marker 164