Kent Nerburn, one of our favorite writers about Native Americans, has a special place in his heart for Ohiyesa, a.k.a. Charles Eastman, whom he calls "a man with a warrior's heart, an orator's tongue, and human spirit of such integrity that it transcends boundaries of race and belief." In this impressive and soul-stirring paperback, editor Michael Oren Fitzgerald has gathered together an astonishing collection on the life and writings of Charles Eastman (1858 -1939), the first American Indian to chart the challenges of remaining true to the ideals and rituals of his nomadic ancestors while living in an industrialized world. Ohiyesa served as an intermediary between the white world and that of his people. Ohiyesa lived the traditional life of the Sioux until he was 15 and then went on to receive an undergraduate degree from Dartmouth and a medical degree from Boston College. He was the first great Native American author with 11 books to his credit.
Living in Two Worlds is divided into six parts with excerpts from Eastman's writings on his recollections of the traditional nomadic life of the Plains Indians; life on the reservation, attending government boarding schools; the tragedy of the buffalos; the Ghost Dance; and much more. Our favorite section contains excerpts from Eastman's book "The Soul of the Indian" in which he covers the beliefs, cultural values, and recurring themes of American Indian philosophy. Look here for his respect for the Great Mystery, the vision quest, communion with the natural word, the Sun Dance, Indian medicine, the sweat lodge and ceremony of the pipe, the Indian moral code, the Indian attitude toward death, and much more.
Living in Two Worlds also includes the added value of over 275 vintage photographs and paintings; nine interviews with contemporary Native leaders from diverse tribes; maps and timelines detailing Native American history; a foreword by Shoshone Sun Dance chief James Trosper; and an appendix with the entire text of an apology by the Bureau of Indian Affairs given to all American Indians on the 175th anniversary of the founding of that agency. Free supplementary study materials are available on the publisher's Internet site.