Black Elk Speaks

Black Elk Speaks

Being the Life Story of A Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux

Book - 1998
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The most famous Native American book ever written, Black Elk Speaks is the acclaimed story of Lakota visionary and healer Nicholas Black Elk (1863--1950) and his people during the momentous, twilight years of the nineteenth century. Black Elk grew up in a time when white settlers were invading the Lakotas' homeland, decimating buffalo herds and threatening to extinguish their way of life. Black Elk and other Lakotas fought back, a dogged resistance that resulted in a remarkable victory at the Little Bighorn and an unspeakable tragedy at Wounded Knee.

Beautifully told through the celebrated poet and writer John G. Neihardt, Black Elk Speaks offers much more than a life story. Black Elk's profound and arresting religious visions of the unity of humanity and the world around him have transformed his account into a venerated spiritual classic. Whether appreciated as a collaborative autobiography, a history of a Native American nation, or an enduring spiritual testament for all humankind, Black Elk Speaks is unforgettable.

This special edition features all three prefaces to Black Elk Speaks that John G. Neihardt wrote at different points in his life, a map of Black Elk's world, a reset text with Lakota words reproduced using the latest orthographic standards, and color paintings by Lakota artist Standing Bear that have not been widely available for decades.

Publisher: Lincoln, Nebraska : University of Nebraska Press, 1998.
ISBN: 9780803283596
0803283598
Characteristics: xix, 298 p. ;,21 cm.
Additional Contributors: Neihardt, John G. 1881-1973

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rbono
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.

k
katycurtis
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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