— Taking a break from crossing America on foot, runner no. 26,737
is scheduled to step to the Boston Marathon starting line Monday
for another journey of the soul. Before departing, he hopes to make
a small tobacco offering to the ancestors and the spirits. He plans
to tuck sage under each heel for good luck and will likely don his
bear-claw necklace, a symbol of courage.
76-year-old Emmett “His Many Lightnings” Eastman will run. Run to
mark another milestone in his life. Run in memory of a dead friend.
And run to inspire his Dakota Sioux tribe and other American Indians.
more than just running,” he said during a visit to the starting
area yesterday. “It’s like carrying a message and representing our
first came to Boston’s historic race in 1972, seeking to mark his
40th birthday by running the signature event despite never having
entered a race longer than 2 miles.
didn’t realize until the event drew near that athletes had to qualify
beforehand, and when he told the Boston Athletic Association’s director
that he would run without a bib number, he was told he would be
thrown in the “clink.”
the media got wind of the threat, the director relented and said
the association would let Eastman run as a goodwill gesture. Eastman
said he finished in 3 hours, 39 minutes.
Monday, when he goes to the starting line for the second time in
his life, Eastman will be properly registered, but will again be
observing a personal milestone. He turned 75 last year, and while
he could not run then - vertebrae problems, his only physical ailment
- he’s ready now.
his visit, he is staying in Hopkinton with Joan Quinn Eastman and
her husband, Dan, whom he was recently introduced to by the screenwriter
for the HBO series “Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee.”
of the series’ central characters is Charles “Ohiyesa” Eastman,
Emmett Eastman’s great-uncle and a Dakota Sioux who graduated from
Dartmouth College and Boston University Medical School.
Eastman and Emmett Eastman realized they are distant relatives,
with both descended from Roger Eastman, one of the first white settlers
in the New World. Emmett Eastman’s branch of the family can be traced
to Seth Eastman, a military captain who married a Dakota woman.
the Hopkinton Eastmans found out about their relative’s desire to
mark his 75th birthday, they convinced him to run the Boston Marathon
really pushed it,” said Dan Eastman, who, with his wife, was able
to secure a last-minute bib number with the Hopkinton Athletic Association.
Like other association runners, the money Emmett Eastman has raised
will go to charity.
what Emmett is all about,” Joan Quinn Eastman said.
76-year-old will also be running in memory of his friend Floyd “Red
Crow” Westerman, who died from leukemia complications in December.
Westerman, a Dakota musician and activist, also played the character
Ten Bears in the movie “Dances with Wolves.”
the race is over, the 76-year-old will rejoin the Longest Walk II,
a group that is crossing America on foot asking that sacred American
Indian sites be protected.
is Emmett Eastman’s fourth transcontinental journey, having participated
in one before the 1996 Olympics to promote American Indian health
and culture, one to draw attention to national conservation efforts,
and one to have the Olympic medals of American Indian Jim Thorpe
reinstated after he was stripped of his amateur status years earlier.
do it to set an example for other people,” Eastman said.
Eastman has several blood relatives that are members of the Flandreau
Santee Sioux Tribe and are descendents of Charles Eastman & John
Eastman: Lillian Beane & her children, Linda, William & Sid, Walter
Jones, John Jones, Gordon Jones, & Pearl Wakeman Jones & their children,
and Sheila Eastman and Angie Eastman, daughters of Leah Fyten and
Emmett’s sons Emmett Jr. & Francis Eastman live in Flandreau.