Welcome to another terrific Tuesday. While edits of Brave Wolf and the Lady are in progress, I find myself involved in plotting out my next story, and so of course I have my nose in much research. Lately, I’m reading the book, The Soul of the Indian, An Interpretation by Charles A. Eastman (Ohiyesa) — a Sioux Indian who wrote several books in the early part of the last century. A Chapter entitled BARBARISM AND THE MORAL CODE is one of extreme interest, and so I though I’d share with you a little bit from this chapter, as I find it fascinating.
To the right here is a picture of a young Charles Eastman. He was of mixed descent. His maternal grandmother, daughter of Chief Cloudman of the Mdewankton Sioux, was married to a well-known western artist, Captain Seth Eastman, and in 1847 their daughter, Mary Nancy Eastman became the wife of Chief Many Lightnings, a Wahpeton Sioux. Their fifth child, Charles Alexander Eastman, as a four-year-old was given the name Ohiyesa (the Winner). During the Sioux Uprising of 1862, Ohiyesa became separated from his father — his mother had died soon after his birth — and fled from the reservation in Minnesota to Canada under the protection of his grandmother and uncle. There he was schooled in the Indian ways until the age of fifteen, when he was reunited with his father, who took him back to his homestead in present South Dakota.
Eastman went on to become one of the best-known Indians of his time, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree from Dartmouth in 1887 and a medical degree from Boston University three years later. From his first appointment as a physician at Pine Ridge Agency, where he witnessed the events that culminated in the Wounded Knee massacre, he sought to bring understanding between Native and non-Native Americans. Source Reference from the back blurb of the book, The Soul of the Indian, An Interpretation.
To the left here is a picture of Adam Beach who played Charles Eastman in the film, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. They look so very similar, don’t they? Of course, I’m a Adam Beach fan.
So here we go, here are some gems that I’ve underlined in this chapter of his book:
“The man who preserves his selfhood ever calm and unshaken by the storms of existence — not a leaf, as it were, astir on the tree; not a ripple upon the surface of shining pool — his, in the mind of the unlettered sage, is the ideal attitude and conduct of life.”
And since we write romance, I thought I’d call attention to this gem:
“No man can hope to maintain such a temple of the spirit beyond the period of adolescence, unless he is able to curb his indulgence in the pleasures of the senses. Upon this truth the Indian built a rigid system of physical training, a social and moral code that was the law of his life.
“There was aroused in him as a child a high ideal of manly strength and beauty, the attainment of which must depend upon strict temperance in eating and in sexual relation, together with severe and persistent exercise. … He was required to fast from time to time for short periods, and to work off his superfluous energy by means of hard running, swimming, and the vapor-bath. The bodily fatigue thus induced, especially when coupled with a reduced diet, is a reliable cure for undue sexual desires.”
This is a link to a short video about this book and about Charles Eastman:
Here’s another quote from the book that I found intriguing:
“The public or tribal position of the Indian is entirely dependent upon his private virtue, and he is never permitted to forget that he does not live to himself alone, but to his tribe and his clan.”
And here’s a clip from the movie, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee:
I hope you have enjoyed this blog today, and I hope you will each on leave a comment. I will be offering a free copy of my latest book THE PRINCESS AND THE WOLF.