- 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: 304 customer reviews
Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
#49,795 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #23 in Books > Religion & Spirituality > Other Religions, Practices & Sacred Texts > Tribal & Ethnic > Native American
- #27 in Books > Biographies & Memoirs > Ethnic & National > Native American
- #78 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Specific Demographics > Native American Studies
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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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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. Those who want to pick at the book miss the greater impact of Black Elk's life and vision. As this was not Neidhardt's culture he probably also didn't totally understand nor was he able to explain some things, but again, are we missing the greater truth of the book by focusing on imperfections? Read this book with an open heart and you won't be disappointed.
Some feel Black Elk became a Catholic as a way of continuing to teach the Lakota way along with the Christian faith to preserve the Lakota culture. I believe he was intelligent and had such a great spirit he saw he could blend both faiths and build a bridge for the future. Nor was he intimidated into the Christian faith. His daughter said his acceptance of the Catholic faith was true and not a sham to keep teaching the Lakota ways surreptitiously. After reading this book, if Black Elk interests you there are books available on the later half of his life. Black Elk lived until 1950. You may also be interested in The Sacred Pipe: Black Elk's Account of the Seven Rites of the Oglala Sioux (The Civilization of the American Indian Series).
If you would like a somewhat different perspective or style of writing you might take a look at Lame Deer, Seeker of Visions (Enriched Classics). Lame Deer felt Black Elk Speaks missed the mark in some ways so he enlisted the help of Richard Erdoes to write his own book as Lame Deer did not speak much English. I enjoyed reading Lame Deer, Seeker of Visions as there is humor and compassion toward all in his account of his life and that of his people.
You really feel the strength of a people living in total harmony with
nature, with universe.
The drawings by "Crazy horse" are great and tells it's own story.
So much to learn for us who live in a too material and rushed life.
This book goes through the history of the fall of their culture here in America, told through the eyes of the famous visionary, Black Elk. Reading it, you get a strong sense of their customs, traditions, developing a deeper understanding.
Although most of us know the story of the Native Americans; however, even through the bitter ending of this book, I was still filled with a sense of hope, a hope that at least through art and other arenas of the soul, their culture would be preserved for future generations.
Most recent customer reviews
* This 2014 edition is extra interesting for the motivated reader because it...Read more