Black Elk speaks: being the life story of a holy man of the Oglala Sioux

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University of Nebraska Press, 1988 - Biography & Autobiography - 298 pages
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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.

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Fascinating book

User Review  - marrii -

I read this book a few years ago, it is an actual account of Black Elk's life from childhood to adulthood. It describes the indians deep spirituality and the visions of Black Elk. It also tells the ... Read full review

A book that should be in every collection

User Review  - thomasomaha -

This book shares a history and a tradition, as well as many facets of native american faith doctrine and culture. It is a one on one conversation with Black Elk, who was related to Crazy Horse, its ... Read full review


the offering of the pipe
early boyhood
the great vision

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About the author (1988)

Internationally known for "Black Elk Speaks," John G. Neihardt (1881-1973) was a noted author in several genres. His essays and literary criticism are collected in "Knowledge and Opinion" (Nebraska 2002).

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