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The Sixth Grandfather: Black Elk's Teachings Given to John G. Neihardt Paperback – October 1, 1985

4.9 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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  • The Sixth Grandfather:  Black Elk's Teachings Given to John G. Neihardt
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  • The Sacred Pipe: Black Elk’s Account of the Seven Rites of the Oglala Sioux (The Civilization of the American Indian Series)
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  • Black Elk Speaks: The Complete Edition
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"In The Sixth Grandfather, Dr. DeMallie reveals himself to be a uniquely sensitive interpreter of Lakota theology, philosophy, and history—which are all one in traditionalist Lakota thought. His editing is a masterpiece of scholarly skill and spiritual insight, insight that penetrates the inner beings of both Black Elk and John G. Neihardt, two men of vastly different cultures who became one as seekers of the Sacred. The Sixth Grandfather is, as it were, the completion of the holy task begun in Black Elk Speaks and When the Tree Flowered."— Father Peter J. Powell, author of People of the Sacred Mountain
(Father Peter J. Powell)

"As a careful anthropological document or a moving personal testimony, the legacy here preserved deserves a wide readership."—Library Journal
(Library Journal)

About the Author

Raymond J. DeMallie is Chancellor's Professor of Anthropology and American Indian Studies at Indiana University.

Hilda Neihardt lives on the west bank of the Missouri River near Tekamah, Nebraska. For years a private attorney, she now devotes much of her time to presentations in schools and to service organizations.

Hilda Martinsen Neihardt (1916-2004) was the daughter of John G. Neihardt and Mona Martinsen. She is the author of "Black Elk and Flaming Rainbow: Personal Memories of the Lakota Holy Man and John Neihardt" and the editor of "Black Elk Lives: Conversations with the Black Elk Family," both available in Bison Books editions.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 452 pages
  • Publisher: Bison Books (October 1, 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803265646
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803265646
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #372,109 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
We knew "BLACK ELK speaks" for a long time, through John NEIHARDT's translation. Now, we get - at least - the full text and it's a real hapiness ! I compared the two texts, some days ago, for my Belgian students and discovered how Neihardt had betrayed the Old Man by cutting, interpreting and rewriting the original interview. This book is the most important publication in Native American spirituality for years; it presents, in the same time, a vivid Lakota experience of Little Big Horn battle and Wounded Knee massacre, without any reorganization. Read it.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is the most powerful book I have ever read. Black Elk exudes a spiritual connection that is unparalleled. He also was a man of service. He speaks with a poetic sense of the world that has been killed by science, rationalism and money lust. If we could recover the spiritual sense, this indigenous way of being, that this man had the world would be rich. This book is better than the book "Black Elk Speaks" by Neihardt, because Demallie publishes the interviews verbatim (Neihardt's influence is limited), he provides many footnotes and writes a 100 page introduction and biography on Black Elk using material not contained in the interviews. Demallie also discusses issues that arise from what Black Elk says.
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Format: Paperback
These are the original records of a series of interviews about spiritual awakening that resulted in the classic book "Black Elk Speaks." When Black Elk describes his vision, it is the most beautiful, the most profound assessment of human experience that I have ever encountered. Black Elk speaks in the language and symbols of his culture, so a reader who has knowledge of his way of life will better understand what he was trying to convey.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"The Sixth Grandfather" offers an annotated presentation of the raw transcripts of the testimony of the Lakota medicine man Black Elk to the poet and amateur ethnographer John Neihardt.

These dialogs are better known by Neihardt's poeticized rendition in the book "Black Elk Speaks." However, the well-intentioned Neihardt introduced serious distortions into his version, and should be regarded with extreme caution.

Black Elk lived the kind of life that no one would believe, if it were made up. Born to an Oglala Lakota family in Wyoming in the late nineteenth century, Black Elk lived a traditional life in camps pitched with tipis on the forests and plains, hunting buffalo and resisting the encroachment of white settlers in the region.

At the age of nine, he fell into a coma for twelve days, during which time he experienced what he would subsequently call his "Great Vision," in which he traveled up into the sky and met with the Six Grandfathers, partial personifications of the Great Spirit who dwell in the six directions (north, south, east, west, up, and down). As he took leave of the Grandfathers, he gradually realized that the sixth grandfather, the lord of the earth below, was he himself.

He awoke with the conviction that he had a sacred mandate and duty to restore his people to health and power, and spent the rest of his life with that vision as a spiritual and moral reference point, asking himself at various points along the way how important experiences fit into his vision, and filling him with the frequent anxiety that he was not fulfilling his charge.
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Format: Paperback
I felt this book was a constant page turner. If your interested in native american literature this is a wonderful book to have in your collection. Find a quiet place burn some sage and cedar and begin your journey with the sixth grandfather.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The most striking part of reading this book is learning that while Neihardt shaped Black Elk Speaks as a tragedy, Nicholas Black Elk himself had the hope that a revival of the spirit might emerge as others learned of his vision, a hope that may be in the process of coming to fruition.. I also was surprised to discover that Black Elk had been very active in the Catholic Church. May the Great Spirit be with us all.
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Format: Paperback
In reading this book on Black Elk Speaks I was overwhelmed. It seemed like the book was meant to land into my hands. When I began to read this novel, I understood. My feelings about vision quests, and soaring with the creators helpers has been an enlightenment to me for being here. I see things that I read in Black Elk Speaks and I understand. I understand what it is like to want to save the people and to have this heaviness come over you when they don't understand you. I have heard your message and I understand.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Sixth Grandfather is the English translation of thoughts provided by Black Elk to John Neihardt, a mainstream American writer. Black Elk's interpretation of spiritual awakening is the most complete, the most profound, the most gripping, and the most beautiful expression of human awareness that I have ever encountered.
John Neihardt edited these notes and published them as Black Elk Speaks. While that book can be a fascinating study of theological ideas, it distorts what Black Elk shared with John Neihardt. The Sixth Grandfather should be read multiple times as a window to a beautiful consciousness that should never be lost to mankind.
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