Charles Eastman was a Native American (Santee Dakota) author and activist, and resident of Amherst from 1911-19, where he published nine of his eleven books. In this lecture, Kiara Vigil, Assistant Professor of American Studies at Amherst College, will highlight Charles Eastman’s life, his position as a “public face for the Indian people” and how he successfully navigated circuits of power using academia, the literary marketplace, and the federal government’s Indian Service. Eastman’s story a glimpse into the life of Indigenous members of the Amherst community and a critical period in which Indigenous people gained cultural and political influence in the United States. She will draw on research from her first book “Indigenous Intellectuals: Sovereignty, Citizenship, and the American Imagination, 1880-1930,” (Cambridge University Press) in which she posits that Charles Eastman and his contemporaries were integral to the shaping of debates around citizenship and race within American society during the early twentieth century, and identifies his cohort as part of a wider network of Indian people whose work as writers, activists, and performers demand a re-imagining of American history.
History Bites is a series of thirty minute lectures to inform and entertain, covering various aspects of the history of Amherst and the lives of those who once lived here.
Bring your lunch, and we provide coffee, tea and cider for you as you listen to the presentations. The programs begin promptly at 12:15 with seating and beverages ready just before noon. The lectures are free and everyone is welcome to attend.