Grade 8 Shop Project #15

As these projects are only teaching the concept of bending plastic they are simpler. So a couple of these plastic projects count as one project. Today I started my paper towel holder. P1120108.JPGA little bit on both ends will be bend to actually hold the paper towel roll.

Grade 8 History Lesson 42

Charles Eastman (Ohiyesa) and Chief Joseph

1876, 1877

     Today I will be talking about two Indians. Ohuyesa or Charles Alexander Eastman and Chief Joseph.

Ohuyesa was born near Redwood Falls, Minnesota, the fifth child of a Dakota family. His mother who was part Dakota, part white died while giving him life. And his father was presumed dead after a bloody battle between white Americans and Dakota Indians. So Ohuyesa was raised by his paternal grandmother, his uncle, and his cousins.

Ohiyesa lived a happy life with only the presumed murder of his father clouding it. However one day his father came back wearing the clothes of the white man. It turns out his father was spared death in a battle against white settlers and was kept alive as a prisoner of war under orders of Abraham Lincoln. While in captivity Ohiyesa’s father was exposed to Western teachings and to the Gospel of Christ. In hearing the good news he decided to become a believer. Ohiyesa’s father believed that the Dakota would thrive best if they fully embraced the ways of the white man. Ohiyesa and his siblings obeyed their father. He adopted the name Charles Alexander Eastman and headed to boarding school in Nebraska at his father’s request. And after three years of boarding school he showed he was a brilliant student. He chose to attend Beloit College in Wisconsin. Where he studied hard and adopted his father’s Christian faith. Three months before Charles went to Beloit, General George A. Custer was defeated by Dakota and Cheyenne Indians at the Battle of Little Bighorn by Chief Sitting Bull and other Indians. This stirred up some distrust of Indians living among whites, which was exactly what Charles was doing. However because of his good character Charles slowly overcame racial tensions at Beloit College and greatly contributed to the athletic program. With scholarship money he moved on to attend Knox College, graduate from Dartmouth College, and receive a medical degree from Boston University. He was loved by his classmates and was voted by them to give a speech.

However when he returned to the Dakota, as a doctor among them he found that even medicine couldn’t help cure them from a disease brought to America by Europeans. The U.S was “negotiating” with the Dakota to adopt reservation life in order to build a railroad that would stretch from one coast to another. In an effort to spur the Indians towards farming  and settling the U.S government authorized the killing of thousands of American Bison. The staggering loss of the buffalo weakened the Indians and increased their susceptibility to disease. Even worse Charles Eastman was appointed a government doctor to the Dakota just before the Wounded Knee Massacre, in 1890. During which 200 Dakota Indians, men, women, and children were shot to death by soldiers. Charles would be one of the many who dug into the snow to recover the bodies of the dead and wounded. Holding on to two worlds Charles went on to marry a compassionate white woman named Elaine Goodale, who shared his vision of improving relations between whites and the Dakota.

Charles retired from medicine and worked for the government, with the government, and against the government for the sake of his people. He drafted bill after bill to help protect the Dakota. However in the end the Dakota refused to sign any of the bills, they had been lied to, betrayed and shot at one too many times. The U.S eventually drove the Dakota onto reservations. However what they didn’t realize was that the Dakota people weren’t farmers, they were hunters. They traveled in groups and followed the buffalo that freely roamed the great plains. Confinement to solitary plots was genocide waiting to happen.

Greatly disheartened by all of this, after 20 years of struggling with Washington D.C, Charles Eastman gave up on politics. He poured efforts into starting 30 to 40 Indian chapters of the YMCA across America. In 1910 he was invited to help found the Boy Scouts of America and the Camp Fire Girls. And with the help of his wife he wrote 11 books about his unique experience in the middle of two conflicting worlds. Sadly Charles and his wife separated in their later years. They apparently had two different ideas for the American Indians. Elaine wanted the Indians to fully adopt white ways. Charles hoped for the coexistence of both cultures. Charles retired to a solitary cabin on the shore of Lake Huron and returned to wearing traditional Indian clothes. He died in 1939 at 80 and was laid to rest in Detroit. However his grave was not marked until 1984.

Now onto Chief Joseph. Chief Joseph was the chief of the Wallamwatkin band of the Chutepalu. That probably made no sense. We know them better as the Nez Perce. Around 1805, the first known white men met the Nez Perce. They were Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. Their encounter was a peaceful one. However with time settlers began to encroach on the lands of the Nez Perce. And in 1860 gold was found in the lands of the Nez Perce. The white settlers went crazy with greed and the U.S. government asked for 90 percent of the Nez Perce lands. I don’t know who in their right minds would accept that. Obviously the Nez Perce didn’t accept. On his deathbed Chief Joseph’s father asked his son never to abandon the land where he was to be buried. Unfortunately Chief Joseph found he would have to disobey his fathers last words. Because of the unceasing demands from the U.S. government. Two things would happen. Firstly, Chief Joseph would plan the escape of his people to Canada. Secondly, angry young warriors planned for war, and unleashed their fury on some white settlers. To the United States this was a declaration of war. So the chase began. Chief Joseph was an extraordinary military genius and was able to evade the troops that pursued him. He was able to get within 40 miles of the border of Canada, only to find 2,000 U.S. troops in the way. He surrendered as he didn’t want bloodshed. Though the U.S. promised safe passage back to Oregon, the Nez Perce spent 8 months at a prison camp. They were then moved to Oklahoma to spend 10 years on a diseased reservation. Then finally they were relocated to a safe reservation in Idaho. In later years Chief Joseph actually met Charles Alexander Eastman. Charles helped document the story of the Nez Perce. And Chief Joseph’s moving speeches have been preserved to this day.

Grade 8 History Lesson 41

The Impressionists: Monet, Degas, Renoir, and Cassatt


     Today we will take a break from all the wars and battles and look at art. This type of art is called impressionism and we will learn how it got it’s name. And also learn about four of the most famous impressionists. Impressionism is a form of painting that essentially catches the first impression of something. Like when you suddenly turn your head to look at something. This type of art abandons the fine lines of the Renaissance, and uses fuzzy, vibrating images using thousands of dots of paint. Cameras were being invented at this time so this new field of photography probably inspired artists to take snapshots of things around them.

Our first impressionist is Claude Monet (Moh NAY). He was born in Paris France in 1840. He aspired to be an artists and started heading to art school. However instead of copying the works or the masters in the Louvre, he found himself sitting next to the windows of the museum to paint what he saw outdoors. While in Paris, Monet was influenced by the brushstroke techniques of Édouard Manet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. And while he was in England he was influenced by the vivid colors of landscape artists. As early as 1866, when Monet was just 26 he gained recognition for a panting titled Camille, or The Woman in the Green Dress. The woman in the painting would later become his wife. Monet’s art style was growing in popularity, however it still lacked a name.

This would change in 1874 when Monet displayed a work in Paris titled Impression, Sunrise. When an art critic tried to make fun of Monet’s funny broken strokes. He used the title of the work to discredit it in the news column. Stating the work left him with the “impression” of unfinished wallpaper. Instead he just gave a name to the new style of painting. And artists adopting this style would then on be known as impressionists. Claude Monet would remain “loyal” to Impressionism for the rest of his life. Painting beaches, his son on a hobbyhorse, and poppies in a field, he loved painting nature. One of his most touching paintings was one of his wife on her deathbed. At only 32 she died, probably of tuberculosis in 1879. In grieving for his wife, Monet painted the more dismal landscape of France in the fog and the bitter cold for about a year. But with time he came back to lighter themes. He traveled and painted in Italy and settled in Giverny in northern France. Some of his most famous works were painted at Giverny including Bridge Over a Pond of Water Lilies (1899) and numerous scenes titled Water Lilies. He died at 86 and is buried at Giverny. Thousands visit Monet’s gardens today in memory of the artist’s contribution to Impressionism. Though many Impressionists were just as famous as Monet, or even more so, all were compared to him.

Edgar Degas was also born in Paris, France in 1834, just a few years before Monet. He started his career in Italy where he studied the masters of the Renaissance. He at first wanted to follow suit with the past and paint historical scenes, but something in him begged him to be more modern. In Paris, Degas met Édouard Manet, the same painter who influenced Claude Monet. After seeing the realism of the Impressionists, he knew he had found the modern style he was looking for. Though Degas liked the realism of Impressionism, he didn’t like unfinished it looked. As he was trained in the classic style he liked to plan out his paintings and work in a studio. Though he and Monet spent time together in Paris and displayed works at the same shows, they were not good friends. Though there were few who were good friends with Degas. He also took his work to seriously to have a family.

What he did excel in was blending his classic techniques with the realism of the impressionists. Realism to the point that some people in the painting were literally cut in half, like in a photo. Degas also specialized in mood and movement. He displayed movement at the racetrack and the ballet. Also unique to Degas was his scene selection, rather than paint the ballerinas on stage he would paint them during rehearsal, standing around. And with the horses he painted the shuffling around instead of on the racetrack. The mood in his paintings such as in L’Absinthe perhaps represented his own isolation. Though he was famous and well paid in his lifetime his personal life was not so sweet. He struggled with his eyesight in later years and appeared to be miserable. He died in 1917 in Paris.

Our next artist, Pierre-Auguste Renoir was also born in France, just one year after Monet. And like the others he was also influenced by Édouard Manet and followed the trend of the Impressionists. Unique to Renoir was his magnificent ability to paint “soft”. He like Degas blended the techniques of the renaissance with the realism of the Impressionists. But instead of finding his subjects on the race track he found his subjects in the streets and cafés of Paris. For that the French loved him. In Paris, in the 1860s, Renoir met Claude Monet. Sometimes painting side by side the two artists experimented with outdoor painting and the real color of shadows (which you will find aren’t always brown or black).

Remember the show where an art critic made fun of Monet’s painting? It was at that show that Renoir presented six paintings in 1874. That was the beginning of Renoir’s fame. In 1890 Renoir married one of his models. And later enjoyed painting his wife and children. One of the many paintings of his children is Girls at the Piano (1892). He even painted a painting of Monet standing outdoors at an easel in a garden. Unfortunately as he aged he developed a serious case of rheumatoid arthritis. For the last twenty years of his life he was wheelchair bound and had crippled hands. So to accommodate for his failing posture he created a rolling canvas that could move to where he needed it. Renoir got to see his works hanging in the Louvre next to the to the masters that he admired and learned from. He died in 1919 in France.

The last artist we will be looking at today was Mary Cassat. She was born in the United States, in 1844. Her family took her on a trip to Europe when she was eleven to the Paris World Fair. There she was exposed to the works of Edgar Degas. Never would she imagine she would be one of the few friends that Degas had. Back in the United states she would attend art school, only to find it disappointing. There was a great stigma associated with being a female artist at the time. So she went to Europe, where she found more opportunity, but was considered as an outsider. She would spend most of her career overcoming the obstacle of being a American female artist. When she found out about Impressionism she was lured in like Degas and Renoir. As time passed she became one of the two women who ever displayed works with the famous French Impressionists. Her specialty would be the theme of mothers and children in everyday life. In her older age she struggled with diseases and nearly went blind. This caused her to stop painting in 1914. However she went back to the United States to fight for women’s suffrage. She died in 1926.