American-born writer, physician and a reformer.
He helped to reform the Senate-Sioux as well as the Anglo-American society. He is known for his active role in politics and fight for rights of the American Indian. He took a major role In founding the Boy Scouts of America among others Societies. He received the first Indian Achievement Award In 1933.
His book, The Indian Boyhood, was published first In 1902. HIS other major books are From the Deep Woods of Civilization (1916) and The Soul of the Indian (1911). This research paper seeks to analyses Statesman’s book, Indian Boyhood.The Indian Boyhood derives from Alcohol’s boyhood experiences In North America. It Is a recollection of his expressions and experiences form his early years up to 15 years (Eastman v).
From this book, the reader discovers that Alyssa, being a motherless child, was raised by a grandmother, unchecked, who he describes as being save and very tough. From his birth, Choices was known by the name Hazard. The young boy spent a considerable amount of his time relating and communicating with nature (Kid 1 14). He particularly had an interest and related so well with birds and the red squirrel (Eastman 8).The grandmother always used to frighten him with stories of owls that abducted children.
In the culture of the Sioux, human beings as well as certain animals were said to be helping in shaping the behavior of native children. For instance, the animals were believed to be giving gifts to the unborn children or giving them some unfortunate characters. Boys were taught hunting from an early age. The hunted animals were said to be friends that offer their bodies kindly for people’s sustenance (Eastman 50). The boys were taught to saw respect to these animals and to be like them (Eastman 54).Many other stories follow this one, but most of them explore animal proximity. Then there comes a story of the boy and his dog.
The boy, Hazard, had to sacrifice his pet for his first offering as required by the custom. He is eight years then, but he fearlessly relinquishes the pet to the offering of the Great Mystery. By so doing, he proves his bravery and maturity that leads to change of his name from Hazard to Choices (Kid 104). In this book, Eastman uses a umber of tales that extend from hunting, war and educational to depict a relational and defused individual.Through the stories In this book, Eastman blends together traditional tales, songs and even ethnographically Information to bring out the true nature of his own life. He calls this the last events of the Indian existence. The book portrays lots of Statesman’s own “Endlessness” rather than his own personality.
He uses himself as a representation of what he calls the “highest type of uncivilized man” who Is upgraded to civilization through his education, religion and the need to leave the sat and embrace the present and future. The book Is a reminder to show him how far he has come.He uses the book to show how any Indian, especially in the American context, can choose to be dynamic then succeed in a country that is restrained by the U. S hegemony (Satanist 145). The book highlights that, though born in the American community, the author is vastly isolated from the white contact. This early life especially covering the period between the years 1858 to 1873. History has it that by the year 1858, most of the land belonging to the Dakota Sioux was being rendered to the white settlers by use of numerous treaties all done in exchange of limited food and money, which was usually delayed or was not paid at all (Kid 103).There is a violent encounter that happens in 1862 when Eastman was only 4 years old.
This is the Sioux Uprising of 1862. There was starving because the Indian tribal land was lost. This was followed by the Sioux Massacre that involved violent resistance when the U. S government did a lot of injustice on the Dakota people. The Dakota were displaced by force, killed, and thousands imprisoned. This uprising impacted strongly on the life of Eastman.
Most of the Dakota were pushed out of Minnesota.His father, Many Lightning, was imprisoned and sentenced to death, though he shockingly reappeared many years later (Satanist 145). This violent colonial conflict led to his isolated childhood, being brought up and educated by his grandmother, Unchecked and uncle, Mysterious Medicine. For a long time, the boy was absorbed in Dakota culture. A long time past before, the boys father, Many Lightning, returned to the shock of many. He told them how he had escaped death, got converted into Christianity and adopted the name Jacob Eastman, before moving o Christian Dakota settlement (Satanist 146).It can be argued that the title of the book, “Indian boyhood”, is concerned with Statesman’s status. It alludes to him being a representative of the “Indian”.
He uses the name “Indian” as opposed to “Senate Dakota, Native or Sioux”, to indicate its allusion to the pan-Indian Movement that he was actively involved in later. The name “Indian” represents the culture of the people, a means of separating them from the European and other Whites. As of such, the title “Indian” indicates the social forces that took place in moving the Natives to a elective Identity (Satanist 146).Eastman looks at himself as a spokesman of his people. He was very active in the Society of American Indians.
He was also champion of the Dates Act that reshaped the Indian Identity which helped Indians to be proud in “the race”. In addition, in this book, Eastman provides ethnographic data on the Dakota. For instance, he describes the Maiden’s Feast Ritual. It is important to note here that Eastman has nothing to do with this event, he was not personally involved. This is a Dakota Social festival where the virginity of maidens and women is declared and confirmed by the community.It involves a girl coming to a red-painted rock with arrows stuck upright into the ground and taking an oath of purity while young men provoke her.
The aim of this practice is to instill the value of chastity in the girls. According to Eastman, this ritual supports the Christian virtue of chastity. The Dakota people use this ritual to mould their young women become good members of the society. By so doing, they support Christians though they do not know it. In his narration, Eastman uses both first and third person narration techniques to bring a sense of representative or communal status (Satanist 147).Through his naming rituals, Eastman uses allegory to explore a potential dramatic change.
For the Dakota people, names reflect one’s achievements in the past, future desires or family connections. At his birth, Eastman was given the name Hazard meaning “the pitiful last” (it was a pity as he was the youngest of the five children who were soon left without a mother) (Eastman 4). The name Hazard was changed four years later game called Lacrosse (Eastman 201:38-39).
This name connects his victory in the traditional set up as well as his future success (Satanist 2007 149).Even after hanging his name later to Charles Eastman, he goes on to use the name Choices to show his identity among the society of the whites. He identifies himself as Charles Alexander Eastman (Choices) in titles pages of all his books to blend the English and Dakota languages. His names also serve as allegorical indicators for the potential change of the people.
He was born at a time considered to be the end of his tribal existence; he believed that the shameful remnants of once proud and uncivilized individuals could change into “winners” in the World of the Whites. He kept his nameChoices to remember his own change and his conviction that the Indians have the capability of becoming winners in America (Satanist 150). Two events contribute greatly to changes that take place in Eastman. The first one is the Sioux Uprising followed by the Wounded Knee Massacre, where more than 200 Sioux, majority of them being women and children were murdered by American Cavalry. They both contribute towards his transformation from innocence to experience. They also hint at the pain he foreshadows on the future of Indian nations (Satanist 150). From this book, we learn that women are admirable and very important for survival.
For instance, upon the death of his mother, Eastman is given to his grandmother to care for him and ensure that he grows up in a “proper way’. We also learn that this book is not so much about an individual but more of collective labor and celebrations of a community. From his early age, Eastman is trained how to survive and be a responsible man in the society (Microchip 120).
He is trained to differentiate between barks of different trees, bird calls, hunting methods for different animals, he is tested in fasting, running for many days, looking for water in the night forest as well as steering his emotions.He exhibits his final skill during the offering to the “Great Mystery’ by sacrificing his beloved dog “Aitkin. ” The eight-year old is very inventive. He sacrifices his dog but omits the part that involves consuming it because that will offend the American readers. The book ends with Eastman coming to light about the existence of his long “dead” father and brother.
In all his writings, Eastman stresses on Christianity and its real potential. For him, Christianity is a harmonize force in modernization. It also serves to remind Indians of the relationship between their ultra values and Christianity (Microchip 121).
His books also stress on the hope of the Indian success in modern America as well as the role played by indigenous literature. He emphasizes how Indians should apply moderation in their loyalty to tradition and their exploitation of opportunities arising from the dominant culture (Microchip 116). Christianity has a possibility of uniting diverse peoples under the shade of one faith. He ridicules whites for their failure to practice what they preached and the Indians for resisting to take in the values of Christianity (Microchip 17).