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Charles Alexander Eastman Edit Profile

Physician , writer , national lecturer

Charles Eastman was a Native American physician, writer, national lecturer, and reformer.

Background

Ethnicity: He was of Santee Sioux and Anglo-American ancestry.

Charles Alexander Eastman was born Hakadah and later named Ohíye S’a.

Education

He became the first Native American to be certified as a European-style doctor.

Career

Charles Eastman worked as an agency physician for the Bureau of Indian Affairs Indian Health Service on the Pine Ridge Reservation and later at the Crow Creek Reservation, both in South Dakota. He cared for Indians after the Wounded Knee massacre. He later established a private medical practice after being forced out of his position, but was not able to make it succeed.

As they were struggling financially, his European-American wife Elaine Goodale Eastman encouraged him to write some of the stories of his childhood. At her suggestion (and with her editing help), he published the first two in 1893 and 1894 in St. Nicholas Magazine. It had earlier published poetry of hers. These stories were collected in his first book.

Between 1894–98, Eastman established thirty-two Indian groups of the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA), and established leadership programs and outdoor youth camps. In 1899, he helped recruit students for the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania, which had been established as the first Indian boarding school run by the federal government.

In 1902, Eastman published a memoir, Indian Boyhood, recounting his first fifteen years of life among the Sioux during the later years of the nineteenth century. In the following two decades, he wrote ten more books, most concerned with his Native American culture.

In 1911, Eastman was chosen to represent the American Indian at the Universal Races Congress in London. Throughout his speeches and teachings, he emphasized peace and living in harmony with nature. Eastman was one of the co-founders of the Society of American Indian (SAI), which pushed for freedom and self-determination for the Indian. From 1923-25, Eastman served as an appointed US Indian inspector under President Calvin Coolidge.

Works

  • The compilation of the writings

    • The Essential Charles Eastman (Ohiyesa)

Politics

Active in politics and issues on American Indian rights, he worked to improve the lives of youths, and founded 32 Native American chapters of the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA). He also helped found the Boy Scouts of America. He is considered the first Native American author to write American history from the native point of view.

Connections

father:
Many Lightnings (Jacob Eastman)

mother:
Nancy Eastman

spouse:
Elaine Goodale

child:
Irene Taluta Eastman (deceased)

child:
Virginia Eastman

child:
Ohiyesa Eastman

child:
Eleanor Eastman

child:
Florence Eastman

wife:
Elaine Goodale Eastman