In 1885 a genteel New England girl traveled to the western frontier to open a school on the Great Sioux Reservation. For six years, Elaine Goodale Eastman taught, hunted with, and lived among the Lakotas, who were experiencing profound changes as buffalo herds dwindled and they were forced to adjust to reservation life. Her informative and sometimes poignant recollections of those years tell much about the daily lives of the Lakotas and how they grappled with challenges to their way of life. Goodale Eastman witnessed the arrival and flowering of the Ghost Dance religion, visited with Sitting Bull shortly before his death, and in December 1890 was at Pine Ridge, where she and her future husband, Dr. Charles Eastman, cared for the survivors of the Wounded Knee massacre. Sister to the Sioux bears witness to a critical and tragic era in Lakota history and reveals the frequently contradictory attitudes of outsiders drawn to them.
Kay Graber is also the editor of Standing Bear and the Ponca Chiefs, available in a Bison Books edition. Theodore D. Sargent is a professor emeritus at the University of Massachusetts–Amherst and is completing a biography of Elaine Goodale Eastman.
“[Sister to the Sioux] is of value to historians and anthropologists for a wealth of information useful in shading in the era of Lakota reservation life during the 1880s.”—Western Historical Quarterly
“We must be impressed by this talented woman who gave herself so completely to the people she chose to serve. Her story is fascinating, a real contribution to the history of the period.”—American Indian Quarterly