- Paperback: 298 pages
- Publisher: University of Nebraska Press (August 1988)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0803283598
- ISBN-13: 978-0803283596
- Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.5 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (236 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #139,785 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Black Elk Speaks: Being the Life Story of a Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux Paperback – August, 1988
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Top Customer Reviews
Neidhardt left out the ensuing years on Pine Ridge Reservation and Black Elk's acceptance of Catholicism to frame a lost way of life, the sadness and injustice of it, and the greatness and seeming inevitability of Black Elk's vision. I believe any poetic license taken was in service of bringing forth a greater truth. The book was not meant to be a biography or history of the Lakota, but to preserve Black Elk's vision and so the purpose of the book was accomplished.Read more ›
The question of how closely the words of this book follow the words of Black Elk has long been debated. It will not be decided here. Turn to the scholarly literature if you truly wish to pursue an answer. I have done that and in my mind (and I do have some education in these realms) am at peace with the book as a genuine expression of turn of the century Lakota spirituality. Neihardt may have written the words, and Ben Black Elk (Black Elk's son) may have done the translating, but Black Elk lived the life, as is corroborated by other sources.
I use the work in my introduction to religion classes, to bring another world to life for my students. Is Black Elk's vision theirs? Of course not. Is the book even Black Elk's vision? Perhaps not exactly. But it is a vision of power and every now and then it awakens a vision in students living 100 years after Black Elk. I belive Black Elks speaks and there is some power in his words still.
This is a wonderful book on so many levels. I went back to college at 40+ and read it then. Later on I bought it for my grown son. It's full of patient wisdom and compassion that we all need to remember how to use and seldom see anymore. Some things never go out of style. They touch on basic human qualities and needs.
It tells of young Black Elk's powerful vision. This is one of the few books to place the colors in the proper directions.
This is not a blanket statement that everything in this book is correct. I noticed two errors.
1. The word Oglala is misspelled throughout the book
2. The photo on page 282. I have seen this photo in other sources, and the indian standing to the left of Nick Black Elk was called by another name.
If you want a biography of the famous holy man this is an excelent book.
If you want a book on American Indian Spirituality go elsewhere.
"The Sacred Pipe" Joseph Epes Brown
"Foolscrow: Wisdom and Power" Thomas E. Mails
"Native Wisdom" Ed McGaa
"Mother Earth Spirituality" Ed McGaa
Please contact me if you have questions or comments. Two Bears
Wah doh Ogedoda "We give thanks Great Spirit"
The former book was written by a sympathetic outsider who painted the American Indian as a helpless victim of European greed--which for the most part he was/is. The latter was dictated to an interested party, John G. Neihardt, and is the words and reminiscences of Nicholas Black Elk, who witnessed as a child or participated in as an adult, some of the major events of the American Indian Wars that were the outcome of the US expansion into the West. For those of us reared on John Ford westerns, manifest destiny and pioneering had a patriotic ring, as well they might most of them having been made in the years immediately following WWII. In the social souring of the sixties and seventies that brought so many discontented groups vocally into the foreground, it became more obvious that the expression of manifest destiny by our European forebearers spelled manifest disaster for the Native American populations across the country. An outgrowth of the discontent of the "younger generation" was the establishment of the afore said departments. That of American Indian studies introduced us to the more honest, or at least more balanced, story of the indigenous people of the country.
Black Elk Speaks is a superb eye witness account of the Sioux experience with European expansion into the Dakotas.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Beautifully sad book, my boyfriend reccommended this to me and I really fell in love with how the story was told and the way it was told. Read morePublished 4 days ago by Katlin Bassett
Black Elk was born and lived when Natives were free, not on reservations. That is why his words were captured and printed back in the 1930s when he was an old man, his reembrances... Read morePublished 13 days ago by ersatzeden
It was a gift. My husband had mentioned he would like it, so I ordered it!Published 17 days ago by Amazon Customer
I like the Philosophical Perspectives of american Indians so i found this book very enlighting and useful. Read morePublished 19 days ago by Lucia