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American Passages: A Literary SurveyUnit IndexAmerican Passages Home
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8. Regional Realism   

8. Regional

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Activities: Author Activities

Charles Alexander Eastman (Ohiyesa) - Author Questions

Back Back to Charles Alexander Eastman Activities
  1. Comprehension: What is Eastman's relationship to the other Sioux Indians at the Pine Ridge Agency? What kinds of distinctions does he perceive among the various Indians he encounters there? How do his education and upbringing set him apart? What kind of relationship does he have with non-Indian authorities at the Agency?

  2. Comprehension: What was the Ghost Dance religion? How does Eastman represent it in his autobiography?

  3. Context: Read Eastman's representation of the traditional Sioux tale "Turtle Story," featured in the archive. How does Smoky Day, the wise Indian narrator of the story, compare to Joel Chandler Harris's Uncle Remus? How does the tale itself compare to Uncle Remus's stories? What kinds of skills does the turtle rely on? How does he compare to the animal figures in the Remus stories?

  4. Exploration: Eastman helped establish the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America, establishing summer camps that he advertised as directed by a "real Indian" and publishing "Scout Books" on such topics as how to make tepees and canoes. He seemed invested in providing white children with "Indian" experiences in the outdoors. Why might Eastman have been interested in transmitting his interpretation of Native American culture in this way? How effective do you think the scouting movement has been in educating Euro-American children about Native American customs? Where do you see similar kinds of interest in (and commodification of) Indian culture at work in American society today?

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