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The Soul of the Indian: An Interpretation by Charles A. Eastman

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THE SOUL OF THE INDIAN is Charles Eastman?s fascinating study of the religious and spiritual life of the Indian people, as he knew them over 100 years ago. He explores the Dakota belief in God??the Great Mystery?, ceremonies, symbolism, the moral code of the Dakota and much more. Eastman was born on the Santee Reservation in Minnesota in 1858. His grandparents raised him after his mother?s death and his father?s capture during the ?Minnesota Sioux Uprising?. At the age of fifteen, he was reunited with his father and embarked on a life in white man?s society. He became a doctor and spent the rest of his life helping Indian people cope with the changes to their world and trying to reconcile the opposing values and beliefs of white society and Sioux culture.


Reviews (7)
Amhirishes
Biased, but deeply honest. Ohiyesa/Eastman truly pours his heart into this summary of the spiritual life of the plains Indian. As a historical source document, certain biases stand out - but the author is truly self aware enough to give plenty of hints and warnings as to when his personal bias enters the equation - something almost unheard of in primary sources. Example - he often speculates on how things were in the "old days", as he accurately witnessed the corruption of his own culture from outside forces. He can paint a bit of an idealistic picture of those days of yore (which he did not witness)- the Indian living largely without jealousy and petty vengeance, with violence only occurring in ritualized ancestral warfare, and never for reasons of conquest. This is a pretty bold assertion, but one that I estimate must at least partially be true, as even in this modern age we witness ever corrupting "mind viruses" (greed, political corruption, extremist religions, etc.) effecting the parts of the world where "civilization" has been the longest. Eastman also paints a pretty rosy picture of his contemporaries in the US government and their treatment of his people, perhaps in an effort to avoid retribution at a time when our nation was extremely jingoistic and anti-other.

Why give a 5 star review then? Simply because this book imparts deeply powerful messages and truths about life, and because you cannot help but feel the positive energy that embodied this man through his writing. I was especially moved by certain passages about brotherly friendship, the value of silence and reflection, and the sacred relationship between mother and child. Scattered across the globe, there are truly sacred elements of truth in the world left behind - and some of them are here in this book.
Sarin
Enjoyed the read, impressively poetic down to earth and touching. Brought me back to a time that no longer exists except for in the heart of those it still matters. I would recommend this to anyone who still lives in the city and needs to escape for a moment.
Anarasida
So well expressed and written and so sad
the arrogance of the white race

We have forced the good from them and encouraged sadness through inaction in correcting our crimes against their humanity and integrity

Once again pride of religion rears its ugly head and respect is ignored

Will we never understand there are many paths to peace in eternity?
Manris
Since other books I have read referenced the great spirituality of native people of the Americas, I decided to explore more about native philosophies.
This book instantly attracted my attention and I'm so glad it did!
Eastman has what whet my appetite to learn more about how the white invaders used and abused the very people whose land it was to begin with.
Instead of conducting themselves in a new place their list for power and domination destroyed a culture far more superior than the one they brought with
Them. Isn't it ironic that now, centuries later sensible thinking people are advocating respect for nature and the environment!
Ƀ⁞₳⁞Ð Ƀ⁞Ǿ⁞Ɏ
I recommend this to the general reader as well as those deeply interested in indigenous history and culture. I appreciate the simplicity of the syntax,the occasional poetic expression and even a few quotable phrases. This book I read in under two hours.It is an easy overview of some captivating myths, expressed in a way which will acquaint the reader with the general mindset of the Native American Indian.
Querlaca
Ohiyesa - Dr. Charles Eastman - grew up in challenging circumstances of war, frequent relocation, and attempted cultural genocide through the dubious graces of the mission schools. It is truly remarkable that he emerged from this background as a skilled physician, humanitarian, and as one of America's finest writers, if not indeed finest people. Though his bias toward his first culture is clear and unashamed, neither does he ignore the scientific or religious lessons gained from his university studies, and paints many clear strands between the Christian perspective and the more individualistic and intuitive religious life to which he was accustomed in his youth.

In a surprisingly short work, Dakota spirituality as it was lived shortly before the violent subjugation of the northern Plains is fairly summarized and lovingly recounted. The social description is incidental but empathetic, like that of many ethnographies in the post-Boas era, but more than filled out by Ohiyesa's discussion of the affective side of his faith experiences. It makes this book half philosophy, half social critique. I strongly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in Plains culture and spirituality, the Indian Wars era, or the exploration of colonial and post-colonial religion. Reading this shifted me from being an admirer of Eastman to an actual fan, and I have since been enthusiastically seeking out his (many!) other writings.
Taulkree
most interesting about Natives beliefs before the white man infected the them. Sad in the fact they had a very good culture, family and tribe oriented. Also sad the wrong side won.
This book is a great way to further understand Native American spirituality which can be humbling in its simplicity. If everyone could take a step back and understand the vital importance of stewardship of this planet we would not be looking at the devastation that is being done in the name of Profit. Highly recommend.

ISBN: 1582186413

Rating: 4.5/5

Votes: 972

Other Formats: lit lrf azw mobi

ISBN13: 978-1582186412

Publisher: Digital Scanning Inc. (August 1, 2001)

Language: English

Subcategory: Other Religions Practices & Sacred Texts

Pages: 196

The Soul of the Indian: An Interpretation
Religion & Spirituality
Author: Charles A. Eastman
Title: The Soul of the Indian: An Interpretation