Posted by: Ron DuBour | August 18, 2017

Knowing your American Heroes ~ Dr. Charles Alexander Eastman (1858 – 1939) ~ by rldubour

Friday!! Time for an American Hero! Today is:


Knowing your American Heroes

Dr. Charles Alexander Eastman (1858 – 1939)

Image result for Dr. Charles Alexander Eastman (1858 - 1939)

Born on a reservation

Near Redwood Falls, Minnesota.

Father called “Many Lightnings”

A native of the Dakota.

His Mother was of mixed blood

Mary Nancy Eastman was his mother.

She died while giving birth

John was his older brother.

Because his mother died

His first name was Hakadah.

In Sioux this means “the Pitiful Last-One”

Later changed to Ohiyesa.

Raised by his paternal grandmother

Of the Wahpeton tribe.

Gave him the love he needed

Her ways she would inscribe.

During the Minnesota uprising

They fled into North Dakota.

Relentless pressure by the Sioux

Moved north into Manitoba.

Reunited with his father

Returned to the Dakota Territory.

With his father’s encouragement

Send to Dartmouth then Boston University.

Earned his medical degree

In eighteen-eighty-nine.

Worked for the Indian Health Service

Medical practice he would refine.

Between ninety-four to ninety seven

He establishes the YMCA.

Helped form the Boy Scouts of America

Both are striving to this day.

Served under President Roosevelt

And also President Coolidge.

On The Bureau of Indian Affairs

And physician at Pine Ridge.

A doctor and reformer

A Native American.

First to receive the Indian Achievement Award

A hero to all men.

AUTHOR NOTES: Ohiyesa was born on a reservation near Redwood Falls, Minnesota. He was the son of the Dakota Many Lightnings and his mixed-blood wife, Mary Nancy Eastman, who died at his birth. Mary Eastman was the daughter of the painter Captain Seth Eastman. During the Minnesota Uprising of Dakota in 1862-63, Ohiyesa was cared for by paternal relatives who fled into North Dakota and Manitoba. When he was later reunited with his father, now using the name Jacob Eastman, and older brother John, the Eastman family established a homestead in Dakota Territory. With his father’s encouragement, Eastman attended mission and preparatory schools and graduated from Dartmouth College in 1887. He graduated from Boston University, with a medical degree, in 1889. Eastman worked as agency physician for the Indian Health Service on the Pine Ridge Reservation, and later at the Crow Creek Reservation, both in South Dakota. He also established a private medical practice. From 1894-97, Eastman established 32 Indian groups of the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA). In 1899, he helped recruit students for the Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania. In 1910, along with Ernest Thompson Seton of the Woodcraft Indians and Daniel Carter Beard of the Sons of Daniel Boone, Eastman helped found the Boy Scouts of America. Eastman was active in politics, particularly in matters dealing with Indian rights. He served as a lobbyist for the Dakota between 1894 and 1897. In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt assigned Eastman the responsibility for revising the allotment method of dividing tribal lands. In 1923-25, Eastman served under Calvin Coolidge as an Indian inspector. He was also a member of the Committee of One Hundred, a reform panel examining federal institutions and activities dealing with Indian nations. In 1925, the Bureau of Indian Affairs asked him to investigate the death and burial location of Sacagawea, the woman who accompanied the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1805. He determined that she died of old age at the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming on April 9, 1884, although later historians believe it more likely that she died as a result of an illness in 1812. Eastman was the recipient of the first Indian Achievement Award in 1933. Eastman published the autobiographical Indian Boyhood in 1902, recounting his first fifteen years of life among the Sioux during the waning years of the nineteenth century. In the following years he wrote a total of eleven books. They enjoy regular reprints and some books have translated in French, German and other European languages. A compilation of his writings was published posthumously, The Essential Charles Eastman (Ohiyesa) (2007). In 1891, he married the poet and Indian welfare activist Elaine Goodale, who briefly served as superintendent of Indian education in the Dakota Territory. They had six children. The marriage prospered at first, but Eastman’s many failed jobs, financial pressures, absences on the lecture circuit, leaving his wife to parent their children alone, put increasing strain on the marriage. After three decades of marriage, proof of her husband’s infidelity caused Elaine to leave him. Goodale Eastman’s latest biographer believes that cultural differences also contributed the breakdown of the marriage.. She died in 1953. Dr. Charles Alexander Eastman (Sioux: Ohiyesa, (pronounced Oh ee suh), February 19, 1858 – January 8, 1939)

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