Black Elk was born in 1863 on the Little Powder River, in what is now Wyoming. Like his father before him, Black Elk would become a warrior, as well as a medicine man or priest of the Oglala Lakota (Sioux) tribe.
Black Elk (Hehaka Sapa) 1863-1950 was a famous Wichasha Wakan (Medicine Man or Holy Man) of the Oglala Lakota (Sioux). He was a second cousin of Crazy Horse. At about the age of twelve, Black Elk participated in the Battle of Little Big Horn of 1876, and was wounded in the Wounded Knee Massacre in 1890.
He was heyoka and a second cousin of Crazy Horse. Black Elk participated, at about the age of twelve, in the Battle of the Little Bighorn of 1876, and was wounded in the Wounded Knee Massacre in 1890.
Only those having visions of the thunder beings of the west, the Wakíŋyaŋ, and who are recognized as such by the community, can take on the ceremonial role of the heyoka. The Lakota medicine man, Black Elk, described himself as a heyoka, saying he had been visited as a child by the thunder beings.
He was the fourth man in his family to go by the name Black Elk. Throughout his childhood, he witnessed a changing landscape in his homeland. He began having visions at only five years old but became very sick during the summer of his ninth year and saw the vision that would set him on his path to becoming a holy man.
Crazy Horse, Sioux name Ta-sunko-witko, (born 1842?, near present-day Rapid City, South Dakota, U.S.—died September 5, 1877, Fort Robinson, Nebraska), a chief of the Oglala band of Lakota (Teton or Western Sioux) who was an able tactician and a determined warrior in the Sioux resistance to European Americans’ invasion
“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.
On December 6, 1904, Black Elk was baptized, took the name Nicholas Black Elk, and continued to serve as a spiritual leader among his people, seeing no contradiction in embracing what he found valid in both his tribal traditions and Christianity.
HeyokaThe word Heyókȟa (alternative spellings “Haokah”, “Heyoka”, “Heyokha”) refers to the Lakota concept of a contrarian, jester, satirist or sacred clown.
The purpose of a heyoka ceremony is to give people joy or laughter so that they are ready to receive wisdom or truth. Only people who have had visions of the thunder beings can be heyokas.
Pronounced hey-OH-kah, heyoka is a Lakota word meaning “ fool” or “sacred clown” because of their ability to create healing from humor. Lakotas are Native Americans originating from the Great Plains.
Neihardt (Flaming Rainbow), the autobiography of Black Elk, dictated by Black Elk in Sioux, translated into English by his son Ben Black Elk, written by John G. Neihardt, and published in 1932. The work became a major source of information about 19th-century Plains Indian culture.
Europeans were beginning to travel through the sacred Black Hills, his Lakota homeland, and Black Elk found himself fighting, at 12, in the infamous 1876 Battle of Little Big Horn. In his sixteenth year, Black Elk could think only of his vision during the Sun Dance and how he had not yet done anything about it.
In August 1930, the Midwestern writer John Neihardt went with his son Sigurd to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota to speak with Black Elk, an Oglala Sioux.