Dakota Philosopher: Charles Eastman and American Indian Thought

Dakota Philosopher: Charles Eastman and American Indian Thought

by David Martinez
     
 

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Charles Eastman straddled two worlds in his life and writing. The author of Indian Boyhood was raised in the traditional way after the 1862 U.S.-Dakota War. His father later persuaded him to study Christianity and attend medical school. But when Eastman served as a government doctor during the Wounded Knee massacre, he became disillusioned about Americans' capacity to

Overview

Charles Eastman straddled two worlds in his life and writing. The author of Indian Boyhood was raised in the traditional way after the 1862 U.S.-Dakota War. His father later persuaded him to study Christianity and attend medical school. But when Eastman served as a government doctor during the Wounded Knee massacre, he became disillusioned about Americans' capacity to live up to their own ideals. While Eastman's contemporaries viewed him as "a great American and a true philosopher," Indian scholars have long dismissed Eastman's work as assimilationist. Now, for the first time, his philosophy as manifested in his writing is examined in detail. David Martinez explores Eastman's views on the U.S.-Dakota War, Dakota and Ojibwe relations, Dakota sacred history, and citizenship in the Progressive Era, claiming for him a long overdue place in America's intellectual pantheon.

Editorial Reviews

Charles Alexander Eastman (1858-1939) possessed a double identity. As a Native American named Ohiyesa, he had been raised as a traditional Sioux on a reservation. Later, however, he converted to Christianity and attended medical school. Cultural clashes, first the Dakota War and then the Wounded Knee massacre, forced him to make sometimes anguished reassessments of his views about the compatibility of his two cultures. Since his death, the author of Indian Boyhood and The Soul of the Indian has been criticized for his assimilationist views. David Martinez's Dakota Philosopher rescues Eastman's reputation, claiming him as a neglected thinker whose ideas still have relevance.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780873517317
Publisher:
Minnesota Historical Society Press
Publication date:
01/15/2009
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
248
File size:
408 KB

Meet the Author

David Martínez is an assistant professor in the department of American Indian Studies at Arizona State University. Of Pima descent, he is an enrolled member of the Gilla River Indian Community.

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