Charles Eastman and Elaine Goodale House - 850 Belchertown Road

“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

"A gifted, lovable, self-reliant people stood at the crisis of their fate...The hour had struck for a swift transition to another pattern of life altogether, before their self-respect had been undermined and their courage exhausted. Education was the master-key."



-Elaine Goodale Eastman

Life


Ohiyesa Charles (1858-1939) and Elaine Goodale (1863-1953) Eastman lived with their six children in this house from 1911 to 1919, the period in which Charles published nine of his eleven books and Elaine published three of her seven books.

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. Once Eastman embraced his ethnicity, he adopted the name Ohiyesa, which means “The Winner” in Sioux. 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 in 1890. There, he met Elaine Goodale, a social worker and poet, who was Superintendent of Indian Education for the Two Dakotas.

Elaine Goodale was born October 9, 1863 to a sophisticated and progressive New England farm family in Mount Washington, Massachusetts where social reformer friends were regular visitors. She and her sister, Dora, wrote poetry that was published while they were still young. Elaine graduated from Smith College in 1884 and went to teach at a boarding school for Native American children in Virginia until 1886 when she moved to White River Camp, a Sioux reservation, in the Dakota Territories to set up a model day school. Six years later she was made Indian Education Supervisor in the Dakotas under the government Bureau of Indian Affairs and used the position to try lobby for education on the reservations rather than separating Native American families by sending their children to distant boarding schools. She met Eastman while helping care for victims of the Wounded Knee Massacre.

One daughter, Irene, died in the 1918 flu epidemic. The Eastman-Goodale marriage ended in separation in 1921. Though the partnership did not last, historian Ruth Ann Alexander has suggested that it proved an apt metaphor for the increasingly uneasy alliance between whites and Native Americans.


Key Works


Eastman’s books focus on the history, legends, myths, traditions, values, and religious beliefs of the Sioux people. 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.

Goodale produced her own poetry, novels and memoirs while collaborating with and playing a major editorial role to Eastman. She wrote until near the end of her long life, publishing more poems, novels, book reviews, articles, and a 1935 biography of Richard Henry Pratt, the founder of the Carlisle Indian School. In 1945, she wrote an essay about the Ghost Dance, a Native American religious movement promising peace and an end to white westward expansion. Her early 1891 memoir, Sister to the Sioux, documented her travels in Sioux territory and her own assimilation to their way of life even while expressing a belief that they must adapt to the ways of white settlers or face extinction. It was only by witnessing the massacre at Wounded Knee that she began to lose faith in this ideal.


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. 

Goodale both embraced the Sioux people and their way while retaining her belief in the superiority of her own New England background. She played a key diplomatic role in her day negotiating between these two worlds and striving for what she thought would be best for the future of Native Americans. 


House


Eastman and Goodale nicknamed their house "Lodestone" (magnet). Elaine's father 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 still stands on the site today.

Directions

It is recommended to drive to the final house on the tour because it is 5.5 miles to the south. The next stop is Robert Francis' house, which is located at 170 Market Hil Rd. Drive west on Route 9 for 2 miles to S. East Street. Turn right on S. East Street for 2 miles until it becomes Henry Street and continue for 1 more mile to Market Hill Road. Turn right for .4 miles to 170 Market Hill Road.

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