Sioux (Multicultural America:)
Dr. Charles A. Eastman, whose first Sioux name, Hakadah, means "Pitiful Last," was one of the Santee Sioux of Minnesota who fled to Canada in 1852, following an uprising against white settlers in the area in which 450 whites were killed. Eastman was only four years old at the time. He fled with his uncle's family, leaving his immediately family behind. His father had been arrested as a member of the uprising, and Eastman did not see him again until he was sixteen. The meeting was a momentous one. As a prisoner, his father had been converted to Christianity, and to a belief in "the white man's way." He had come for his son in order that the teenager might learn "this new way, too."
Eastman became one of the Indian students at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, and in 1890 he graduated with a medical degree from Boston University. In 1902, he published his recollections of growing up among the Santee Sioux in an autobiography titled Indian Boyhood. Reprinted here is the final chapter, "First Impressions of Civilisation."
Although Eastman did not meet any white people until he was sixteen, as a boy growing up in his uncle's household he had heard many stories of the wakan, or mysterious, white race. Such stories offered a version of early contacts between his people and whites, as well as "tall tales" about new technologies such as the railroad. They...
(The entire section is 20622 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!