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Charles Eastman (Charles Alexander Ohiyesa Eastman) Biography

(1858–1939), (Charles Alexander Ohiyesa Eastman), Red Hunters and the Animal People, Old Indian Days, Wigwam Evenings

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Dutchman to Paul Engle Biography

Native American writer, born in Minesota of mixed Sioux Indian and white parentage, educated at Dartmouth and Boston University Medical School. Eastman was one of the first Native American writers to achieve a mass popular audience through his magazine accounts of Indian life and customs, and volumes such as Red Hunters and the Animal People (1904) and Old Indian Days (1907). He has also inspired other Sioux to write, such as Luther Standing Bear. Wigwam Evenings (1909; reissued as Smoky Day's Wigwam Evenings, 1910) was written in collaboration with his wife Elaine Goodale Eastman, herself a noted writer, whom he met and married when he was a government physician at Pine Ridge agency in South Dakota; there he witnessed the aftermath of the Wounded Knee Massacre. Eastman's influence has been felt most acutely through his autobiographical writing. Indian Boyhood (1902) describes his life to the age of 15 when he was sent to mission school. From the Deep Woods to Civilization (1916) describes his experience of white America, stresses the contribution of Indians to American society, and articulates a powerful criticism of the US government for its indifference towards the suffering of the Sioux people. In The Soul of the Indian: An Interpretation (1911), Indian Child Life (1913), The Indian Today: The Past and Future of the American Indian (1915), and Indian Heroes and Great Chieftains (1918), Eastman offers an appreciation of Indian culture. See also Native American Literature.

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