Black Elk died in 1950 on a night when the Pine Ridge area experienced a meteor shower. Black Elk made a prediction earlier in his life that lights in the sky would accompany his death.
Black Elk, also known as Hehaka Sapa and Nicholas Black Elk, was a famous holy man, traditional healer, and visionary of the Oglala Lakota (Sioux) of the northern Great Plains. He was the son of the elder Black Elk, who supported Chief Crazy Horse, the Lakota resistance leader, and White Cow Sees Woman.
The story, and its categorization as autobiographical, claims authenticity, and was widely regarded to be an accurate report of Native American life among the tribe of the Oglala Lakota and their culture. Even today, the book is still considered to be one of the first works of Native American literature.
Black Elk sees a circled village and is told it is his. Everyone in the village seems to be dead or dying, but as he rides through, they revive. A voice tells him that it is the center of the nation’s hoop that he has been given that made the people live.
Black Elk Speaks offers testimony to the price in human suffering that the Sioux paid for the westward expansion of the United States. As an elegy, it mourns the passing of an age of innocence and freedom for the American Indian and his current cultural displacement.
Elk have developed a number of adaptations to help it survive. The Shawnee Indians called the elk Wapiti, which means “white rump.” This is because their hind end tends to be white in color. An elk’s coat color is any shade from tan to dark brown depending upon the season.
What premonition did Black Elk have of the tragedy to come? Although the Indians thought they rescued the women and children, what actually happened to them? They were killed trying to get to safety.
“ Ben Black Elk was the son of the famous medicine man Nick Black Elk. Ben was at one time considered the most photographed Indian in the world.
The Ghost Dance was a spiritual movement that arose among Western American Indians. It began among the Paiute in about 1869 with a series of visions of an elder, Wodziwob. These visions foresaw renewal of the Earth and help for the Paiute peoples as promised by their ancestors.
Black Elk married his first wife, Katie War Bonnet, in 1892. She converted to Catholicism, and all three of their children were baptized as Catholics.
: a group dance of a late 19th century American Indian messianic cult believed to promote the return of the dead and the restoration of traditional ways of life.
Black Elk Speaks is a 1932 book by John G. Neihardt, an American poet and writer, who relates the story of Black Elk, an Oglala Lakota medicine man. Black Elk spoke in Lakota and Black Elk’s son, Ben Black Elk, who was present during the talks, translated his father’s words into English.
The massacre at Wounded Knee, during which soldiers of the US Army 7th Cavalry Regiment indiscriminately slaughtered hundreds of Sioux men, women, and children, marked the definitive end of Indian resistance to the encroachments of white settlers.