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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: Standing Bear (Illustrator), Siegfried Lang (Translator), John G. Neihardt (Afterword)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,459403,198 (3.98)49
"Black Elk Speaks, the story of the Oglala Lakota visionary and healer Nicholas Black Elk (1863-1950) and his people during momentous twilight years of the nineteenth century, offers readers much more than a precious glimpse of a vanished time. Black Elk's searing visions of the unity of humanity and Earth, conveyed by John G. Neihardt, have made this book a classic that crosses multiple genres. Whether appreciated as the poignant tale of a Lakota life, a history of a Native nation, or an enduring spiritual testament, Black Elk Speaks is unforgettable"--… (more)
Recently added byJozsefSzarka, CtrSacredSciences, NickLyle, MackintoshL, private library, ericbell35, Anniik, Pepperhead, Hoyacane
Legacy LibrariesCarl Sandburg
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» See also 49 mentions

English (36)  French (2)  All languages (38)
Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
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 | Nov 26, 2022 |
"Black Elk Speaks, the story of the Oglala Lakota visionary and healer Nicholas Black Elk (1863-1950) and his people during momentous twilight years of the nineteenth century, offers readers much more than a precious glimpse of a vanished time. Black Elk's searing visions of the unity of humanity and Earth, conveyed by John G. Neihardt, have made this book a classic that crosses multiple genres. Whether appreciated as the poignant tale of a Lakota life, a history of a Native nation, or an enduring spiritual testament, Black Elk Speaks is unforgettable" The author sat with Black Elk and others of the Lakota and wrote down as translated a wonderful story of prophesy, being at the battle of the Little Big Horn, and being involved in the Ghost Dance and the massacre at Wounded Knee as well as the attempted breaking/eradication of the native people and their beliefs. This should be required reading in school. ( )
  dswaddell | Feb 4, 2021 |
NA
  pszolovits | Feb 3, 2021 |
Not sure if this is still considered legitimate ( )
  brianstagner | Sep 19, 2020 |
The other editions have a subtile like " Being the life story off.." which should have tipped me off. I was hoping for quotes/sayings of Black Elk, not a blow by blow. Interesting to see this perspective having read Son of the Morning Star. ( )
  shaundeane | Sep 13, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 36 (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 (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Neihardt, John G.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Black Elkmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Bear, StandingIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lang, SiegfriedTranslatorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Neihardt, John G.Afterwordsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Deloria, Philip J.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilcock, J. RodolfoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Original title
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Original publication date
People/Characters
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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.
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Wikipedia in English (2)

"Black Elk Speaks, the story of the Oglala Lakota visionary and healer Nicholas Black Elk (1863-1950) and his people during momentous twilight years of the nineteenth century, offers readers much more than a precious glimpse of a vanished time. Black Elk's searing visions of the unity of humanity and Earth, conveyed by John G. Neihardt, have made this book a classic that crosses multiple genres. Whether appreciated as the poignant tale of a Lakota life, a history of a Native nation, or an enduring spiritual testament, Black Elk Speaks is unforgettable"--

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AR 5.6, 10 Pts
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