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Home > Children's Books > Indian Boyhood: The True Story of a Sioux Upbringing

cover of Indian Boyhood

Available Now

at your local bookseller or your favorite online book retailer.

Indian Boyhood: The True Story of a Sioux Upbringing
by: Charles Eastman (Ohiyesa)
edited & adapted by: Michael Oren Fitzgerald
illustrated by: Heidi M. Rasch
foreword by: Charles Trimble
Subject(s): Age(s):

Juvenile non-fiction / Biography & Autobiography


Format: Size / page count:


8" × 10" / 40 pages

ISBN: Date available:


Available June 2016




Imagine a childhood full of adventure. Where riding horses, playing in the woods, and hunting for food was part of everyday life; where a grizzly bear, a raccoon, or a squirrel was your favorite pet. But imagine, too, being an orphan at the age of six, being forced off your land by U.S. soldiers, and often going hungry. Such was the childhood of the first great American Indian author, Charles Eastman, or Ohiyesa (1858-1939).

Carefully edited for a younger audience by multiple award-winning author and editor, Michael Oren Fitzgerald, Indian Boyhood recalls Eastman’s earliest childhood memories. He was born in a buffalo hide tipi in western Minnesota, and raised in the traditional Dakota Sioux manner until he was fifteen years old. He was then transplanted into the “white man’s” world. Educated at Dartmouth College, he went on to become a medical doctor, renowned author, field secretary for the YMCA, and a spokesman for American Indians. Eastman was at Pine Ridge during the “Ghost Dance” rebellion of 1890-91, and he cared for the wounded Indians after the massacre at Wounded Knee. In 1910 he began his long association with the Boy Scouts of America, helping Ernest Thompson Seton establish the organization. A 2007 HBO film, entitled Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, features American Indian actor Adam Beach as Eastman.

Awards & Honors
  • Winner of the 2016 USA “Best Books” Award (sponsored by USA Book News) in the “Children’s Picture Book: Hardcover Non-Fiction” category
  • Silver Medal in the 2016 Midwest Book Awards for “Children’s Picture Books”
  • Finalist in the 2016 Reading the West Awards (by MPIBA) for the “Children’s” category

Reviews (hide/show)

“This rare firsthand memoir of late-19th-century Santee Dakota life offers a valuable counterpoint to inaccurate and biased accounts of Native American civilizations told by outsiders. Ohiyesa (1858-1939), also known as Charles Alexander Eastman, wrote 11 books, the first of which was the 1902 account of his youth until age 15, Indian Boyhood. Greatly condensed and simplified for younger readers, this version includes memories of daily life — childhood games, traditional skills and lore learned from elders, times of feast and famine — as well as foreboding signs of changes to come, including expulsion from their land at gunpoint, the capture by the U.S. Army of Ohiyesa's father and brothers, [and] the incursion of the railroads.”
Kirkus Reviews

Indian Boyhood: The True Story of a Sioux Upbringing is an adaptation of part of the original book by Eastman, Indian Boyhood, for the purpose of introducing young children of many cultural backgrounds to Ohiyesa, Charles A. Eastman, spokesman for the First Peoples of North America . . . Additional notes [at the back of the book] on the stunning illustrations give more detailed information about the life of the Sioux on the Great Plains. [Other] notes about the life of Charles Eastman explain further details about his later life as Charles Eastman, the first great American Indian author.”
Children's Bookwatch, a review publication of Midwest Book Review


  • Parents and teachers can download a 1MB file of a coloring page from this book. The full letter-size page, in landscape mode, features a warrior riding a leaping horse. Children can use the book to get ideas on other elements to add or the colors to use. It is suggested that you print the page at a 600 dpi setting, if possible. Click here for this file in jpg format in a new tab or window, which you can print out for your child's enjoyment, or right-click on the link for other options. Remember: it is best to save the file to your computer and then print it out, rather than printing it out from the web page display itself.
A sample spread from the book “Indian Boyhood”, written by Charles Eastman (Ohiyesa), edited by Michael Oren Fitzgerald, and illustrated by Heidi M. Rasch

A sample of the illustrations by Heidi M. Rasch for the book Indian Boyhood
by Charles Eastman (Ohiyesa), and edited by Michael Oren Fitzgerald

a page from the book “President Lincoln: From Log Cabin to White House”, written and illustrated by Demi

Another page from Indian Boyhood: The True Story of a Sioux Upbringing, here showing
several ways that Plains Indian children played and learned about nature.

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