There were no temples or shrines among us save those of nature. Being a natural man, the [American] Indian was intensely poetical. He would deem it sacrilege to build a house for Him who may be met face to face in the mysterious, shadowy aisles of the primeval forest, or on the sunlit bosom of virgin prairies, upon dizzy spires and pinnacles of naked rock, and yonder in the jeweled vault of the night sky! He who enrobes Himself in filmy veils of cloud, there on the rim of the visible world where our Great-Grandfather Sun kindles his evening campfire, He who rides upon the rigorous wind of the north, or breathes forth His spirit upon aromatic southern airs, whose war-canoe is launched upon majestic rivers and inland seas—He needs no lesser cathedral!
'The Soul of the Indian'
By Charles Alexander (Ohiyesa) Eastman (Author)
Raised among the Sioux until the age of 15, Charles Alexander Eastman (1858–1939) was educated at Dartmouth and Boston University medical school. His extensive experience of both Native American and outside cultures makes Eastman ideally suited to interpret them for each other, and in The Soul of the Indian, he defines American Indian religious life as it existed before contact with external influences. Rather than a scientific treatise, Eastman has written a book, "as true as I can make it to my childhood teaching and ancestral ideals, but from the human, not the ethnological standpoint." His discussions of the forms of ceremonial and symbolic worship, the unwritten scriptures, and the spirit world emphasize the universal quality and personal appeal of Native American religion.
Charles Alexander Eastman (first named Ohiyesa) (February 19, 1858 - January 8, 1939) was a Native American physician, writer, national lecturer, and reformer. He was of Santee Sioux and Anglo-American ancestry. Active in politics and issues on American Indian rights, he worked to improve the lives of youths, and founded 32 Native American chapters of the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA). He also helped found the Boy Scouts of America. He is considered the first Native American author to write American history from the native point of view.