Black Elk Speaks

Black Elk Speaks

Book - 1979
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His meeting with the Sioux holy man Black Elk, John G. Neihardt once said, was the most memorable experience of his life. In 1930, while working on the concluding poem of his "Cycle of the West", Neihardt had gone to the Pine Ridge Reservation hoping to find "some old medicine man who had been active in the Messiah Movement and who might be induced to talk with me about the deeper spiritual significance of the matter." In Neihardt, Black Elk recognized the one who had been sent to learn what "was given to me for men." The next summer, in a long series of talks, Black Elk imparted his own life story and the story of the Oglala Sioux during the tragic decades of the Custer battle, the ghost dance, and the Wounded Knee massacre. "Black Elk Speaks", originally published in 1932, is venerated by many who have become alarmed at the declining spiritual and material quality of life in the age of computers and Star Wars. While the electronic media purvey fragmented images of tragic schisms, Black Elk offers an eloquent and profound vision of the unity of all creation.
Publisher: Lincoln, NB : University of Nebraska Press, c1979
ISBN: 9780803283596
Characteristics: xix, 299 p., [6] leaves of plates : ill. ; 23 cm
Additional Contributors: Neihardt, John Gneisenau 1881-1973


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Aug 28, 2017

I have read enough about the sad, sad, violence but still interested in the culture.

I read this 20 years ago. Just finished the complete bio and history of the Lakota by Joe Jackson. It is more complete story of everyone associated with writings about Black Elk including a history of the Northern Plains Indians. Highly recommend both.

Sep 04, 2012

I really liked this book but after reading the premier annotated edition I kind of wish that I had read the Sixth Grandfather instead, because that is a direct transcription of Black Elk's words, whereas Neihardt's voice and thoughts come through a lot in this one. (E.g., Neihardt portrays Black Elk as thinking negatively of Christianity and white men, but these are added flourishes; Black Elk worked in a Christian church and thought there were a lot of beneficial concepts in Christian teachings.)

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