Kills Small to perform as Charles Eastman

Kills Small to perform as Charles Eastman University of South Dakota Lakota language instructor Jerome Kills Small will perform as Charles Alexander Eastman during a special performance at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 27 in Farber Hall of Old Main on the USD campus.

Kills Small will perform as Eastman with the Great Plains Chautauqua, a program of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Following the performance, the audience will be invited to discuss Eastman's life and work with Kills Small. The program, free and open to the public, is sponsored by the USD Native American Cultural Center, the USD English Department and the South Dakota Humanities Council. An Oglala Lakota from Porcupine, Kills Small is a 1997 graduate of USD with an M.A. in Selected Studies.

Eastman wrote 11 books with the assistance of his wife, Elaine Goodale Eastman. Born in 1858, the son of Face of Many Lightnings and Mary Nancy Eastman, his Dakota name was Ohiyesa. After his father was arrested and sentenced to hang for participating in the "Great Minnesota Uprising" in 1862, Eastman's grandmother and uncle took him to Canada where he learned the traditional ways of the Dakota nation.

U.S. President Abraham Lincoln commuted the death sentence of Face of Many Lightnings, who upon his release from prison in 1873, traveled to Canada under his new name, Jacob Eastman, and found his son. He brought Ohiyesa to Flandreau, and began acculturating to an Euro-American way of life. Ohiyesa took the name Charles Alexander Eastman, and began a new education, which continued for 17 years. He graduated from Dartmouth College with a B.S. degree in 1887 and he earned a M.D. in 1890 from Boston University.

At 32, Eastman accepted the first appointment as physician for the Indian Bureau at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in November 1890. One month later on Dec. 29, Eastman was at the Wounded Knee Massacre when 300 people lost their lives.

For more information, contact: Doyle Pipe On Head, (605) 677-6756, or USD English Professor Norma Wilson, (605) 677-5974.

Readers in the Vermillion area can learn about life in Australia by participating in the South Dakota Humanities Council Reading Series this fall at the Vermillion Public Library.

The first discussion takes place on Sunday, Sept. 19 at 3 p.m. with second and third meetings on Oct. 3 and Nov. 14.

Readers meet with Jamie Sullivan from Mount Marty College to talk about life in Australia. The discussions will start with My Place by Sally Morgan, followed by The Road from Coorain by Jill Ker Conway. Interested readers can sign up for the free programs at the Vermillion Public Library and purchase books along with a study guide for $10.

My Place tells the story of Morgan's discovery of her Aboriginal roots and gives voice to the stories of her great uncle, mother and grandmother as they recount the struggles they lived with under European domination since 1900.

Morgan began her journey in 1982 to her grandmother's birthplace in a traditional Aboriginal village. The trip turned into an emotional and spiritual journey confronting suppressed history and questions of identity.

The second book, The Road from Coorain, is the narrative of Conway's journey from childhood on an isolated sheep farm in the grasslands of Australia to her departure for America and eventually the presidency of Smith College.

Readers see the profound family tragedies that result from an eight year drought and experience the great stamina that remains despite societal treatment based on gender for Conway and her mother.

A World of Discovery video, Australia's Outback: The Vanishing Frontier, which follows a year in the lives of a current day ranch family, will be shown during the first meeting.

The reading series takes place in 30 South Dakota communities this fall as part of the Humanities Council's "Knowing the World through Reading." An Internet discussion also takes place on the World Wide Web for readers, particularly those outside of communities sponsoring discussions.

For more information on the Reading Series or any other council program, call or write the council at 605-688-6113 or Box 7050 University Station, Brookings, SD 57007 or visit the council website at

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