The Soul of the Indian

Front Cover, Jan 1, 2004 - History
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Charles Alexander Eastman (Born Ohiyesa 1858-1939) wrote "The Soul of the Indian" to examine the spiritual history of Native American's before European settlement in America. Born of Minnesota Sioux parents in South Dakota, Charles Eastman spent his life working with Natives and Europeans to bridge cultural divides. Born into and raised by a traditional Sioux family, Eastman developed a deep connection to the life of American Indians. Yet at the age of 15 Eastman's father persuaded him to adopt a European lifestyle. Consequently he graduated from Dartmouth in 1887 and continued medical studies at Boston University. Becoming one of the most traditionally educated Native Americans in the country, Eastman began writing works exploring the changing identities of Native Americans in the early 20th century. In 1902 he published "Indian Boyhood." He followed with several books including "Old Indian Days", and "Indian Stories Retold." His 1911 work "The Soul of the Indian" vividly depicts Native spiritual and religious practices and beliefs, bringing their rich cultural origins to life. His career as a novelist led him into the sphere of political and cultural activism, making him an effective champion of Native American's rights. Eastman's lifelong work of mediation between two seemingly disparate cultures made him one of the most influential American Indians of his day. "The Soul of the Indian" is not to be missed by anyone interested in the diverse fabric of the American identity.

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About the author (2004)

A Santee Sioux, born in Red Falls, Minnesota, Charles Eastman was raised by his grandmother and uncle in Manitoba, Canada, where he learned Native American traditions and lore. As a teenager he returned to his father's family and attended mission schools and Beloit College. He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1887 and from Boston University School of Medicine in 1890. Although his background made him unwelcome in some parts of white society and his education made him uneasy in Native American cultures, he worked for his people throughout his life as a doctor, as a representative in Washington, D.C., and as a founder of the Society of American Indians. His first published book, Indian Boyhood (1902), written for children, tells the stories and traditions of the Sioux nation. Red Hunters and the Animal People (1904), Old Indian Days (1907), and Wigwam Evenings (1909), written with the help of his wife, Elaine Goodale Eastman, continue in this vein, but his later work, including The Soul of the Indian (1911), The Indian Today (1915), and his autobiography, From the Deep Woods to Civilization (1916), attempts to interpret Native American culture for white society, describing the problems of assimilation.

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