From the Deep Woods to Civilization: Chapters in the Autobiography of an Indian (Illustrated) [NOOK Book]

Overview

At the time when From the Deep Woods to Civilization, by Charles Eastman (or Ohiyesa, his name as a Santee Sioux), was published in 1916, Native Americans were no longer viewed simply as savages who deserved their fate. Instead, with the end of frontier hostilities and the growing popularity of groups like the Boy Scouts and Camp Fire Girls, both organized in 1910, the American public had come to associate Indians with noble qualities such as courage and environmental awareness. Few non-Indians understood the ...
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From the Deep Woods to Civilization: Chapters in the Autobiography of an Indian (Illustrated)

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Overview

At the time when From the Deep Woods to Civilization, by Charles Eastman (or Ohiyesa, his name as a Santee Sioux), was published in 1916, Native Americans were no longer viewed simply as savages who deserved their fate. Instead, with the end of frontier hostilities and the growing popularity of groups like the Boy Scouts and Camp Fire Girls, both organized in 1910, the American public had come to associate Indians with noble qualities such as courage and environmental awareness. Few non-Indians understood the complex and tragic history of Native Americans, but most were curious about the continent's indigenous cultures. Charles Eastman wrote his autobiographical From the Deep Woods to Civilization for these curious Americans. This book sketches Eastman's life from his boyhood along the Minnesota-Canada border, through his education at mission schools, Dartmouth College, and Boston University Medical School, to his adult career as a physician, YMCA official, and Indian activist and lecturer. But the book's architecture and pleasant style are deceptive. Rather than tracing a young man's "progress" from the wilderness to civilization, Eastman's narrative grows increasingly pessimistic as the young doctor witnesses corruption at Indian agencies, the cruel killing at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, in 1890, and the hypocrisy of white society. Rather than "rising" to civilization, Eastman seems to be plunging deeper into despair. In the end, the author affirms the wisdom of his Native elders and questions the achievements of "civilization."
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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940015683479
  • Publisher: Balefire Publishing
  • Publication date: 9/20/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 250
  • Sales rank: 858,537
  • File size: 9 MB

Meet the Author

Charles Alexander Eastman (February 19, 1858 – January 8, 1939) was a Native American physician, writer, national lecturer, and reformer.

Eastman was of Santee Sioux and Anglo-American ancestry. Active in politics and issues on American Indian rights, he worked to improve the lives of youths, and founded thirty-two 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.

Eastman was named Hakadah at his birth, meaning "pitiful last" in the Dakota. Eastman was so named because his mother died following his birth. He was the last of five children of Wakantakawin, a mixed-race woman also known as Mary Nancy Eastman. Eastman's father, a Santee Sioux named Wak-anhdi Ota (Many Lightnings), lived on a Dakota (Santee Sioux) reservation near Redwood Falls, Minnesota.

Eastman's mother was the daughter of U.S. Army officer and illustrator Seth Eastman, and Wakháŋ Inážiŋ Wiŋ (Stands Sacred), who married in 1830. Eastman was posted to Fort Snelling, near what is now Minneapolis, and married the fifteen-year-old daughter of Cloud Man, a Dakotah (Santee Sioux) chief. Seth Eastman was reassigned from Fort Snelling in 1832, soon after the birth of Winona (meaning First-born daughter). He declared his marriage ended when he left, as was typical of many European-American men. Winona was later called Wakantakawin.

In the Sioux tradition of naming to mark life passages, her last son Hakadah was later named Ohíye S’a (Dakota: "wins often") had three older brothers (John, David, and James) and an older sister Mary. During the Dakota War of 1862, Ohíye S’a was separated from his father Wak-anhdi Ota and siblings, and they were thought to have died. His maternal grandmother Stands Sacred (Wakháŋ Inážiŋ Wiŋ) and her family took the boy with them as they fled from the warfare into North Dakota and Manitoba, Canada.

Fifteen years later Ohíyesa was reunited with his father and oldest brother John in South Dakota. The father had converted to Christianity, after which he took the surname Eastman.

Charles Eastman built a cabin on the eastern shore of Lake Huron, where he spent his later-year summers. He wintered in Detroit with his only son.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 4 of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 28, 2011

    Interesting perspective

    This book is an easy read, although there are a lot of typos. The author seems to be a genuinely good person who tried to look out for other Indians who were not as privileged as him when it came to education and wealth. It is sad that this great country treated them so badly. I am going to read other books published by this author to learn more about the American Indians.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2012

    Sarah

    Hi

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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