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Black Elk Speaks: Being the Life Story of a…
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Black Elk Speaks: Being the Life Story of a Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux (1932)

by John G. Neihardt, Black Elk

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
A powerful book, and a sad book. Black Elk tells of his life and in that story we learn so much!
His peoples names for the months, the significance of circles to the native people, their customs and traditions. Even legends are told in here, like the chapter titled "High Horse's Courting" which I really enjoyed! Black Elk's visions are extremely interesting as are his interactions with the spirit and animal worlds. And yet his story is that of the Native American, so it is a sad one. The demise of his people, the deaths of Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull and the massacre at Wounded Knee. And of course, the theft of their land by the Wasichus (white people). The ending, like that of his people, is so sad. ( )
  Stahl-Ricco | Jan 22, 2016 |
A powerful book, and a sad book. Black Elk tells of his life and in that story we learn so much!
His peoples names for the months, the significance of circles to the native people, their customs and traditions. Even legends are told in here, like the chapter titled "High Horse's Courting" which I really enjoyed! Black Elk's visions are extremely interesting as are his interactions with the spirit and animal worlds. And yet his story is that of the Native American, so it is a sad one. The demise of his people, the deaths of Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull and the massacre at Wounded Knee. And of course, the theft of their land by the Wasichus (white people). The ending, like that of his people, is so sad. ( )
  Stahl-Ricco | Feb 22, 2015 |
I enjoyed this book. I found it kind of difficult when I was reading it to figure out what was actually Black Elk, and what was Neihardt, although the editor had thankfully given little footnotes on the side. While I think this was a powerful book, and very interesting to read, the lack of any true authenticity bothered me quite a lot. I didn't really understand why Neihardt couldn't just tell us what Black Elk said. It was obvious to me that good parts of the book were Black Elk's words filtered through a European-American consciousness in such a way that they would be understandable to European-Americans. And this bugged me, some places more than others.

Still, looking at the time when it was written, I think the interesting thing of the book is not what it tells you of Black Elk (of which most words were to me suspect because of Neihardt's 'filter'), but of what it tells you of Neihardt and the mainstream society of the time.

This is not a book to read if you want an accurate, authentic autobiography of Native Americans, but it is an interesting book of Native American/European-American fusion for the time period. ( )
1 vote sammii507 | Aug 19, 2014 |
This was excellent. A really amazing "first-hand" look at what went on during those terrible times when the new Americans were hellbent on wiping out the proper inhabitants.

Yes, there is a bit of concern over how much Neihardt did/did not reinterpret what Black Elk said, and yes it would have been better to simply translate directly and let it be. But I still think it offers a very clear view that the average non-Native person does not normally get. I found it incredibly interesting to hear about his visions and how they interpreted them and what they did with that, about what their lives were generally like prior to the invasions of the white people, the details of their side of those infamous battles, and so forth. Everyone should read this. ( )
  .Monkey. | Nov 5, 2013 |
I enjoyed this book. I found it kind of difficult when I was reading it to figure out what was actually Black Elk, and what was Neihardt, although the editor had thankfully given little footnotes on the side. While I think this was a powerful book, and very interesting to read, the lack of any true authenticity bothered me quite a lot. I didn't really understand why Neihardt couldn't just tell us what Black Elk said. It was obvious to me that good parts of the book were Black Elk's words filtered through a European-American consciousness in such a way that they would be understandable to European-Americans. And this bugged me, some places more than others.

Still, looking at the time when it was written, I think the interesting thing of the book is not what it tells you of Black Elk (of which most words were to me suspect because of Neihardt's 'filter'), but of what it tells you of Neihardt and the mainstream society of the time.

This is not a book to read if you want an accurate, authentic autobiography of Native Americans, but it is an interesting book of Native American/European-American fusion for the time period. ( )
  Anniik | Sep 7, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
… Based on interviews given by Lakota holy man Nicolas Black Elk (1863-1950)… a moving portrait of Black Elk emerges. He believed he should use his visions and special powers to help the Lakota return to a good life…. Yet he could find no way to make this dream a reality, and Neihardt emphasizes Black Elk's mournful recognition of this failure. However, since Neihardt intended his book as a work of art rather than an anthropological oral history, he felt free to add thoughts of his own and to omit the more optimistic side of Black Elk's views….
 

» Add other authors (17 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John G. Neihardtprimary authorall editionscalculated
Black Elkmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Bear, StandingIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Canonical title
Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Epigraph
Dedication
What is good in this book
is given back
to the six grandfathers
and
to the great men of my people.
- BLACK ELK
First words
PREFACE:
It was during August, 1930, that I first met Black Elk.
... John G. Neihardt, 1960
INTRODUCTION:
The twentieth century has produced a world of conflicting visions, intense emotions, and unpredictable events, and the opportunities for grasping the substance of life have faded as the pace of activity has increased.
... Vine Deloria, Jr.
My friend, I am going to tell you the story of my life, as you wish; and if it were only the story of my life I think I would not tell it; for what is one man that he should make much of his winters, even when they bend him like a heavy snow?
Quotations
What is good in this book is given back to the six grandfathers and to the great men of my people. --Black Elk
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
The original edition was titled "as told to" John G. Neihardt. The 1961 edition, at the author's request, reads "as told through" Neihardt.
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
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Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Original language
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Book description
AR 5.6, 10 Pts
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0803283598, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:01 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

The life story of Black Elk which presents young Indians' efforts in search of their roots.

» see all 5 descriptions

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