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.