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Indian Boyhood

by Charles A. Eastman (Ohiyesa)

This magnificent book takes you into the world of a young Sioux, revealing a wealth of information about American Indian life.

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Introduction to Indian Boyhood

by Curry Kenworthy


Charles Eastman's autobiography Indian Boyhood lets the reader venture into the fields, forests, and teepees with the Dakota Sioux as he relates his early years with his tribe as a toddler, boy, and teen.

This book holds a wealth of information for those who are interested in American Indian life. Eastman does an excellent job of painting his boyhood world vividly so that readers can see it from an authentic point of view.

You'll marvel at the way the Sioux lived, whether it was the daily routine, special occasions, or emergencies and adventures. The author not only fills us in on what the adults and children in his tribe were doing, but also shares some of the goals and motivations behind their actions.

Nature and the animal world are always close to the reader, just as they were constant companions to the boy. If you keep your eyes peeled, you'll learn some interesting tips from the Indian hunter/warrior. Childhood games and grown-up pastimes also come to life again on these pages. Ever wonder how an Indian hunter could have tried to turn back a charging predator, if a display of courage could prevent a massacre, or whether Indian kids could get up the equivalent of a paintball match? Here's your chance to find out.

Even more intriguing, for me, was reading about Dakota customs such as courtship, and especially the Maiden's Feast; the book would be well worth the reading if it contained only these. The seasonal activities, the journeys and adventures, the struggles and the times of plenty, even the Indian police--it's all here. This book covers a lot of ground, as did the people it describes.

Along the way, readers will likely find it necessary to adjust some of their concepts as they are confronted with all this information. This works both ways; you will gain new respect for some aspects of Sioux life, but politically correct notions of perfect Native Americans may also fall by the wayside.

Negative stereotypes concerning American Indians have been replaced with positive ones in much of our media and education, but replacing one set of simplistic beliefs with another only encourages a different type of simplistic and inaccurate viewpoint--a different mindset, but a similar mind. The alternative is to actually gain greater and more realistic understanding, and books like Indian Boyhood will help.

Eastman completes the picture by sharing legends, teachings, ceremonies, and beliefs of the Dakota that allow us to see the mental, social, and spiritual side of the Sioux.

In short, it's an outstanding work, and it's my hope that anyone interested in Native American life will read Indian Boyhood.



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This collection contains outstanding works of literature that deserve readers. Each book in the online library is selected and introduced by Curry Kenworthy. Read these books! They are free. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I have.


Books by respective authors. Logo image from OpenClipart.

Introductions, descriptions, and all other materials © 2006 by Curry Kenworthy.