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Charles “Ohiyesa” Eastman Humanitarian Award Delivered to Flandreau Tribe

(Lake Prior, MN) – Four generations of Eastmans attending the Shakopee Pow-Wow Saturday were able to see and hold a medal given to their ancestor, Dr. Charles Alexander ‘Ohiyesa’ Eastman as it traveled across the country. Dr. Eastman (class of 1890) was recently honored by Boston University Medical School with a posthumous Humanitarian Award for his efforts on behalf of Native Americans. Known as the most prominent Anglo-Dakota of his time, Eastman was the attending physician at the Wounded Knee Massacre and devoted much of his life to preserving his beloved culture.

Native elder Emmett ‘His Many Lightnings’ Eastman of North Dakota, producer Syd Beane of Minneapolis, and business advisor Daniel G. Eastman of Massachusetts, were among the 20 Eastman relatives who came together from across the country. They gathered in the Pow-Wow arena with Glynn Crooks, Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Tribal Council Vice Chairman to view the Humanitarian Award. Charles’ brothers, David and John, were grandfathers to Emmett Eastman and Syd Beane respectively. Daniel is a descendant of yet another Eastman line.

For Daniel and Emmett, this was the second time they have held the medal. The first time was when they first met the direct descendants of Charles Eastman. This past spring, Daniel located Dr. Eastman’s grandson, Robert Prentiss, inviting him to accept the Humanitarian Award on behalf of his family at the BU Medical School Alumni banquet. Emmett addressed 400 people and spoke poignantly about the influence Charles Eastman has had on his life. Attendees lined up to thank him for his simple thoughts of wisdom and spirituality, which he credits largely to Dr. Eastman’s example.

Prentiss, like Daniel, is from Massachusetts, and requested that he carry the award first to Minneapolis, where Charles’ history began as the grandson of famed artist and Fort Snelling Commander Seth Eastman. And asked that he then deliver it to Flandreau, South Dakota where Charles’ family was relocated by the government and eventually settled.

Syd’s brother, William Beane, Tribal Historian & Archivist received the award in Flandreau where it will be displayed at the Moody County Museum. Eastman family members are working together to have Charles and his only son, Charles ‘Ohiyesa’ Eastman II, repatriated from an unmarked grave at 8 Mile in Detroit, Michigan, to the Flandreau Indian Presbeterian Church Cemetery where Dr. Eastman’s father Jacob ‘His Many Lightnings’ Eastman, his brother John and other family members have been laid to rest.

Eastman Family Footnotes:
Daniel G. Eastman has studied Eastman family history for decades, learning about the Dakota line several years ago while researching Seth Eastman at Fort Snelling with his father, Cornell Professor Lester Eastman. Daniel connected with Emmett last year through Daniel Giat, the screenwriter of the Emmy Award winning HBO Epic, “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee”, and through Emmett has met generations of Eastman family relatives.

Emmett ‘His Many Lightnings’ Eastman is an internationally recognized Native American Elder who at age 76 has run as many thousands of miles as years he has been alive all around the globe. He recently ran the Boston Marathon while in the middle of ‘The Longest Walk II’ across the country. He uses sacred running and traditional dancing to honor and raise awareness about his Dakota Sioux heritage. The father of 8, Emmett’s wife died in 1974 giving birth to their last child. He was named Charles Alexander ‘Ohiyesa’ Eastman.

Syd Beane serves as Tri-Chair & National Coordinator for Native Media Technology Network ( and is Senior Partner of B&B Productions in Minneapolis which produced the documentary Native Nations: Standing Together for Civil Rights featuring Peter Coyote. It is scheduled to air on ABC affiliates across the country this fall.

William Beane, historian and archivist, oversaw the restoration of the Indian Presbyterian Church, helping it to remain the oldest active church in South Dakota. He is dedicated to preserving it and its grounds which include its historic cemetery.

George Eastman, of Eastman Kodak. was a same generation cousin of Charles Eastman. It is not known if the two ever met during their parallel lifetimes.


Emmett Eastman and Jacoby Ellsbury in the Boston Globe

He did it! Emmett finished the Boston Marathon and Boston not only loved him, but respected the messages he carried.

Here’s some of the press he got: 4 TV interviews, stories on 5 different TV stations, WBZ radio interview, an Internet interview and 4 different print articles (that we know of). And Emmett will return to Boston in May to attend the Dartmouth Pow-Wow and the BU Medical School Alumni Banquet where his grand uncle, Charles Eastman, will be honored with a posthumous Humanitarian Award on May 17th.

Thanks to our fabulous friend, Chris Collins of NECN, Emmett had a chance to speak with Jacoby Ellsbury before the 4/23 game and told him what an important role model he is to Native youth, encouraging them to believe in their dreams. Ellsbury went on to hit a lead off home run, a second home run AND scored the winning run that night! Can’t help but think the chat had something to do with his amazing performance!

Boston Globe Story

Wonderful article on Emmett in MetroWest Daily

For those of you who have contributed, THANK YOU!!!! JQE & Dan

If you would like to make a contribution to the HAA, please make your check out to the Hopkinton Athletic Association and mail to:

Dan Eastman
223 Winter Street
Hopkinton, MA 01748

More Marathon and Eastman family pics by clicking here.


Exerpt from Rapid City Weekly News, 10/18/07

“For “Reservation Sensation” J.R. Redwater, the chance to bring The Pow Wow Comedy Jam’s tour to the Prairie Wind Casino, as a headlining act, was the dream of a lifetime. Redwater was humbled by the experience, particularly at the end of the show when he and the Jam’s other acts, Jim Ruel, Marc Yaffee, and Vaughn Eaglebear were presented with star quilts. Coming back to “The Rez” was not just a chance to say “I made it,” but a chance to inspire others…

It’s that type of opportunity that producer Joan Quinn Eastman hopes to finance with a production fund. And that’s the reason Eastman, (whose husband Daniel is distantly related of Charles Eastman, central figure in HBO’s “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee”) was at The Black Hills Pow Wow/He Sapa Wacipi Na Oskate trying to build up a production fund to assist Native American projects with their dreams — everything from short films, documentaries, movies and reality shows to the new media of the internet, podcasting, and the still-in-the works Native American cable channel.

Eastman and Moody Street Productions director Ted Reskikoff, was intrigued by the do-it-yourself guerrilla broadcasts of Roland Piyu “Storm” Harris’ local startup Trybal (online) Magazine’s since the first night the event, which had already been shot with a pawn shop digital video camera, was edited and sent out on YouTube. Also getting a raised eyebrow from Eastman was the fact that when Linn Productions’ Pine Ridge set “Imprint” was shown at Austin’s South By Southwest festival, it wound up perhaps unintentionally being lumped in with a documentary on traditional Navajo rug weaving.

Eastman and Resnikoff are working in South Dakota with Pulitzer prize-nominated author Mark St. Pierre, of the Pine Ridge reservation, who was frustrated (like the Linns) that the state has no full time soundstage. “It’s just a shame that more films can’t be produced here,” noted St. Pierre, who in his role as a technical advisor to the film tried to get the Emmy-winning “Wounded Knee” shot in South Dakota, instead of Alberta, Canada…”


“Joan Quinn Eastman recognizes the inherent difficulties that a white woman from Boston might face in trying to help improve conditions on reservations in South Dakota. But the producer isn’t trying to tell Native Americans what to do. She wants to give them a forum, let their voices be the creators of change.

“Once they get momentum going in the media, they will garner so much support,” she said.

Her passion on the subject is evident, and it stems from a personal connection to the HBO movie, “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.” Eastman’s husband, Daniel, is distantly related to Charles Eastman, the central character in the movie.”