From Deep Woods to Civilization

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In Charles Eastmans's autobiography From the Deep Woods to Civilization, he explains what it was like for a Native American Indian in the late 19th century to adapt and accept the new America. It was at a time when Native Americans had little choice but to learn a new way of life if they wanted to prosper. They had been treated unfairly for a long time and it was now their chance to put down the bows and arrows and live like the white man. Although Charles Eastman and the rest of the Native Americans could continue living their natural way of life, they could only do so for a limited amount of time before the white man’s way of life destroyed this possibility. In the first phase of Charles's life he is confronted with the white man’s confined civilization, which threatens to destroy his natural way of life. Eastman grew up living the life of the “first real Americans” and was “consciously trained to be a man”. He was trained to be a “warrior and a hunter” and considered that the only way to live. Nature is of utmost importance to Eastman during his childhood and he spends most of his time in it. He lived his life adapting “perfectly to natural things” and “harmonize[d] himself with nature”(1). Eastman regards his teachers as great and noble Indians that have served time in battle and gained the respect of his tribesman. Eastman looked up to these men and aspired to be like them, and with no intention to change, claiming “my teachers dreamed no more than I of any change in my prospects”(3). At this point, being a brave courageous man is all he has planned for his future. He has hardly given any thought to civilization outside of the woods and has not yet contemplated “learning the white man’s ways”. Eastman had taken part in all his tribe’s activities of manhood except participating in battle. Eastman wanted “to be initiated into the ritual of the war path” and
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