Charles Eastman's House - 850 Belchertown Road

Charles (1858-1939) and Elaine Goodale (1863-1953) Eastman lived with their six children at Lodestone from 1911 to 1919, the period in which Charles published nine of his eleven books and Elaine published three of her seven books. Charles was born Santee Dakota and his books focus on his commitment to social justice for Native Americans. His biographies, Indian Boyhood (1902) and From the Deep Woods to Civilization: Chapters in the Autobiography of an Indian (1916), detail his flight from a Minnesota reservation to Canada after the Sioux uprising of 1862 and his studies at Dartmouth and Boston University, where he earned the M.D. that allowed him to provide medical care for victims of the Wounded Knee Massacre. There he met Goodale, a social worker and poet, who was Superintendent of Indian Education for the Two Dakotas.

“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.” 

-Charles Eastman



Life


Dr. Charles Alexander Eastman was born on a Santee Sioux reservation in Redwood Falls, MN in 1858. His father was Sioux and his mother was multiracial. The Eastman family fled to Canada as refugees after the Sioux Indian Uprising of 1862. Eastman earned his B.A. from Dartmouth College in 1887 and his M.D. from Boston University in 1890. In 1890, Eastman went to work as a physician in the Pine Ridge Agency where he provided care for victims of the Wounded Knee Massacre. There, he met Elaine Goodale, a social worker and poet, whom Eastman later married. Eastman and Goodale had six children together. Goodale played a major editorial role in Eastman’s writing career, a career that ended after they separated when one of their daughters, Irene, died in the 1918 flu epidemic.

Key Works


Eastman’s books focus on the history, legends, myths, traditions, values, and religious beliefs of the Sioux. In 1893, Eastman had his first articles published in St. Nicolas: An Illustrated Magazine for Young Folks. Eastman wrote eleven books, these included his two autobiographies: Indian Boyhood (1902) and From the Deep Woods to Civilization: Chapters in the Autobiography of an Indian (1916) as well as three books about Sioux life: Red Hunters and the Animal People (1904), Old Indian Days (1907), and Wigwam Evenings: Sioux Folk Tales Retold (1909). In 1910, Eastman got deeply involved in the Boy Scouts of America and became a contributing writer for the organization’s magazine, Boy’s Life. Eastman’s work is notable for its unapologetic commitment to social justice for Native Americans.

Legacy


People remember Eastman as a staunch advocate of Native American civil rights. He earned his living lecturing and writing about Native American life, history, and social justice. In addition, Eastman served as a lobbyist in Washington, D.C. for the Santee Sioux from 1897 to 1900. Once Eastman embraced his ethnicity, he adopted the name Ohiyesa, which means “The Winner” in Sioux.

House


850 Belchertown Rd in Amherst, MA – nicknamed Lodestone (magnet).

Eastman and his family lived at Lodestone from 1911 to 1919, the period in which Eastman published nine of his eleven books, and his wife Goodale published three of her seven books. Eastman’s father-in-law purchased the original house, a cottage, sometime between 1887 and 1891. A fire destroyed that cottage in 1897 and it took the Goodale family six years to build a new house, which is the building on the site today.

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