46 Facts About Charles Eastman


Charles Alexander Eastman was an American physician, writer, and social reformer.


Charles Eastman was the first Native American to be certified in Western medicine and was "one of the most prolific authors and speakers on Sioux ethnohistory and American Indian affairs" in the early 20th century.


Charles Eastman worked to improve the lives of youths, and founded thirty-two Native American chapters of the YMCA.


Charles Eastman is considered the first Native American author to write American history from the Native American point of view.


Charles Eastman was so named because his mother died following his birth.


Charles Eastman was the last of five children of Wakantakawin, a mixed-race woman known as Winona, or Mary Nancy Eastman.


Seth Charles Eastman was reassigned from Fort Snelling in 1832, soon after the birth of Winona.


Charles Eastman had three older brothers and an older sister Mary.


Charles Eastman first attended Beloit College and Knox College; he graduated from Dartmouth College in 1887.


Charles Eastman attended medical school at Boston University, where he graduated in 1890 and was among the first Native Americans to be certified as a European-style doctor.


Rev John Charles Eastman served as a Presbyterian missionary at the Santee Dakota settlement of Flandreau, South Dakota.


Shortly after graduating from medical school, Charles Eastman returned to the West, where he 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.


Charles Eastman cared for Indians after the Wounded Knee massacre.


Charles Eastman later established a private medical practice after being forced out of his position, but was not able to make it succeed financially.


Charles Eastman married Elaine Goodale, a teacher from Massachusetts who, after serving as a teacher elsewhere in South Dakota, had been appointed as the first Supervisor of Education for the newly divided states of North and South Dakota.


Charles Eastman became active with the new organization of the YMCA, working to support Native American youth.


In 1902, Charles Eastman published a memoir, Indian Boyhood, recounting his first fifteen years of life among the Dakota Sioux during the later years of the nineteenth century.


Theodore Sargent, a biographer of Elaine, noted that Charles Eastman gained acclaim for the nine books he published on Sioux life, whereas Elaine's seven books received little notice.


Some Native scholars suggest that in fact, there is both content and style in Charles Eastman's writing that reflects Indigenous techniques.


Charles Eastman did not make that claim until after Eastman's death.


Charles Eastman was reported to have lost his government position because he could not type his required reports.


Some of Charles Eastman's books were translated into French, German, Czech and other European languages.


The New York YMCA asked both Seton and Charles Eastman to help them design YMCA Indian Scouts for urban boys, using rooftop gardens and city parks for their activities.


Luther Gulick consulted with Charles Eastman to assist him and his wife Charlotte to develop the Camp Fire Girls.


Charles Eastman advised them on how to organize their summer camps, and directly managed one of the first Boy Scout camps along the shores of the Chesapeake Bay.


In 1915, the Charles Eastman family organized their own summer camp, Camp Oahe, at Granite Lake, New Hampshire, where the whole family worked for years.


Charles Eastman served as a BSA national councilman for many years.


Charles Eastman was active in national politics, particularly in matters dealing with Indian rights.


Charles Eastman served as a lobbyist for the Santee Sioux between 1894 and 1897.


In 1911, Charles Eastman was chosen to represent the American Indian at the Universal Races Congress in London.


In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt assigned Charles Eastman to helping Sioux tribal members to choose English legal names, in order to prevent individuals and families from losing allotted lands due to confusion over cultural naming conventions and spellings.


Charles Eastman was one of the co-founders of the Society of American Indians, which pushed for freedom and self-determination for the American Indian.


From 1923 to 1925, Charles Eastman served as an appointed US Indian inspector under President Calvin Coolidge.


In 1925, the Bureau of Indian Affairs asked Charles Eastman to investigate the death and burial location of Sacagawea, the young woman who guided and interpreted for the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1805.


Charles Eastman determined that she died of old age at the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming on April 9,1884.


In 1891, Charles Eastman married the poet and Indian welfare activist Elaine Goodale, who was serving as Superintendent of Indian Education for the Two Dakotas.


Charles Eastman supported expanding day schools on reservations for education, rather than sending Native American children away from their families to boarding schools.


Charles Eastman was traveling extensively, and Elaine took over managing his public appearances.


Charles Eastman lectured about twenty-five times a year across the country.


Alexander said the catalyst was a rumor that Charles Eastman had an affair with Henrietta Martindale, a visitor at their camp in 1921.


Charles Eastman allegedly got her pregnant, after which he and Goodale separated.


Charles Eastman built a cabin on the eastern shore of Lake Huron, where he spent his later-year summers.


Charles Eastman wintered in Detroit, Michigan with his only son Charles, Jr.


On January 8,1939, the senior Charles Eastman died from a heart attack in Detroit at age eighty.


Elaine Goodale Charles Eastman spent the remainder of her life living with two of her daughters and their families in Northampton, Massachusetts.


Goodale Charles Eastman died in 1953 and her ashes were scattered in the Spring Grove Cemetery in Northampton.