March 13, 2002

Ohiyesa on Indians


Keywords: Dr.Charles Alexander Eastman Ohiyesa Santee Sioux Indians santee sioux leaders SANTEE SIOUX spokesman american indian history native american historian

Source: Charles Alexander Eastman (Ohiyesa)

“The true Indian sets no price upon either his property or his labor. His generosity is limited only by his strength and ability.

He regards it as an honor to be selected for difficult or dangerous service and would think it shameful to ask for any reward, saying rather: “Let the person I serve express his thanks according to his own bringing up and his sense of honor.

Each soul must meet the morning sun, the new sweet earth, and the Great Silence alone!. What is Silence? It is the Great Mystery! The Holy Silence is His voice!

Whenever, in the course of the daily hunt, the hunter comes upon a scene that is strikingly beautiful or sublime — a black thundercloudwith the rainbow’s arch above the mountain, a white waterfall in the heart of a green gorge, a vast prairie tinged with the blood-red of the sunset — he pauses for an instant in an attitude of worship.

He sees no need for setting apart one day in seven as a holy day,

because to him all days are God’s days.

The first American mingled with his pride a singular humility.

Spiritual arrogance was foreign to his nature and teaching. He

never claimed that the power of articulate speech was proof of

superiority over the dumb creation; on the other hand, it is to

him a perilous gift.

Children must early learn the the beauty of generosity. They are

taught to give what they prize most, that they may taste the

happiness of giving”

The Books of Charles A. Eastman (Ohiyesa)

Every age, every race, has its leaders and heroes. There were over

sixty distinct tribes of Indians on this continent, each of which

boasted its notable men. The names and deeds of some of these men

will live in American history, yet in the true sense they are

unknown, because misunderstood. I should like to present some of

the greatest chiefs of modern times in the light of the native

character and ideals, believing that the American people will

gladly do them tardy justice.

It is matter of history that the Sioux nation, to which I

belong, was originally friendly to the Caucasian peoples which it

met in succession-first, to the south the Spaniards; then the

French, on the Mississippi River and along the Great Lakes; later

the English, and finally the Americans. This powerful tribe then

roamed over the whole extent of the Mississippi valley, between

that river and the Rockies. Their usages and government united the

various bands more closely than was the case with many of the

neighboring tribes.

During the early part of the nineteenth century, chiefs such

as Wabashaw, Redwing, and Little Six among the eastern Sioux,

Conquering Bear, Man-Afraid-of-His-Horse, and Hump of the western

bands, were the last of the old type. After these, we have a

coterie of new leaders, products of the new conditions brought

about by close contact with the conquering race.

This distinction must be borne in mind — that while the early

chiefs were spokesmen and leaders in the simplest sense, possessing

no real authority, those who headed their tribes during the

transition period were more or less rulers and more or less

politicians. It is a singular fact that many of the “chiefs”, well

known as such to the American public, were not chiefs at all

according to the accepted usages of their tribesmen. Their

prominence was simply the result of an abnormal situation, in which

representatives of the United States Government made use of them

for a definite purpose. In a few cases, where a chief met with a

violent death, some ambitious man has taken advantage of the

confusion to thrust himself upon the tribe and, perhaps with

outside help, has succeeded in usurping the leadership.

Indian Heroes and Great Chieftains
As remembered by Charles Alexander Eastman:















Famous Sioux
About Raven SiJohn

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