Charles Eastman: Bridging the Gap Between Cultures

analytical Essay
1228 words
1228 words

Charles Eastman made great strides to bridge the gap between the Native Americans and the white man. Born a Santee Sioux, Eastman excelled in his assimilated life, thereby gaining the respect of the white man, which he used to assist the Native American. He was able to give a voice to the culture and its people, which was quickly being silenced by a Eurocentric government. Eastman exemplified the abilities of the Native American through his accomplishments as an author, lecturer, physician, and activist. His capacity to live between two diverse cultures furthered his unprecedented endeavors. Charles Alexander Eastman was born Ohiyesa, a Santee Sioux. He is believed to have been born near Redwood Falls, Minnesota, on February 19, 1858. His paternal grandmother, Uncheedah, was responsible for his upbringing after his mother’s death due to complications during childbirth. Uncheedah presented him with tradition Sioux teachings. Following the Great Sioux Uprising of 1862, Ohiyesa and other Santee Sioux were exiled to Manitoba. In Eastman’s Indian Boyhood, he fondly recalls these times of living freely and peacefully by saying, “What boy would not be an Indian for a while when he thinks of the freest life in the world?” Ohiyesa’s father, Jacob “Many Lightnings” Eastman was instrumental in his assimilation into the white man’s culture, beginning with his education. Unlike many other Native American children in boarding schools, Charles learned to read and write in his native language. This progressive program of learning was often criticized because of the fear felt among American settlers after the Great Sioux Uprising. The settlers, as well as the government agencies, sought only acculturation of the Indians into the w... ... middle of paper ... ...dian Quarterly 25, no. 4 (2001): 609-613. Eastman, Charles A, From the Deep Woods to Civilization, (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press 1977 [1916]) 195. Eastman, Charles A. Indian Boyhood (New York: Dover Publications, (1971 [1902]), 3. Lopenzia, Drew. “’Good Indian’: Charles Eastman and the Warrior as Civil Servant,” American Indian Quarterly 27, no. ¾, Special Issue (2003): 729, 739. Murphy, Nora. “Starting Children on the Path to the Past: American Indians in Children’s Historical Fiction,” Minnesota History 57, no. 6 (2001): 284,286. Patterson, Michelle Wick. “’Real’ Indian Songs: The Society of American Indians and the Use of Native American Culture as a Means of Reform,” American Indian Quarterly 26, no. 1 (2002): 54-55. Stensland, Anna Lee. “Indian Boyhood by Charles A. Eastman’” The English Journal 66, no. 3 (1977): 59.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that charles eastman excelled in his assimilated life, gaining the respect of the white man, which he used to assist the native american.
  • Explains that charles alexander eastman was born ohiyesa, a santee sioux, near redwood falls, minnesota, on february 19, 1858. his paternal grandmother, uncheedah, was responsible for his upbringing.
  • Explains that ohiyesa's father, jacob "many lightnings" eastman, was instrumental in his assimilation into the white man’s culture. this progressive program of learning was often criticized because of the fear felt among american settlers after the great sioux uprising.
  • Explains that eastman played many roles in his life: government employee, physician, lecturer, and author. he wrote several articles and books elucidating native american culture.
  • Explains that charles alexander eastman's writings in children’s literature have provided youth with a more accurate portrayal of the native american and their culture. laura ingalls wilder, author of the little house on the prairie series, essentially denied and belittled indians.
  • Analyzes how eastman penned from the euro-american style of writing by speaking of his childhood. native american tradition dictated that storytelling never included childhood memories, but rather acts of valor.
  • Analyzes how eastman's autobiographical narration portrays him as an interpreter for his white readers. he demystifies and substantiates his own experiences in the indian culture.
  • Analyzes how indian boyhood personified eastman's belief that assimilation and education were necessary for the native american to succeed in the white culture.
  • Describes how charles eastman used his status as a "civilized indian" to advocate for native americans throughout america. he also participated in ymca, boy scouts of america, and camp fire girls.
  • Explains that charles alexander eastman was presented with opportunities that few other native americans given. he witnessed the great sioux uprising as a four-year-old child, which he would later depict by his own recollection.
  • Cites charles a. eastman's "indian boyhood" and the discourse of allotment in american indian quarterly.
  • Cites mcmurphy, nora, patterson, michelle wick, and patterson on the society of american indians and the use of native american culture as a mean of reform.

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