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Black Elk Speaks: Being the Life Story of a Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux

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  • Posted May 22, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Black Elk

    This biography by Neihardt is very enlightening into the life of an Oglala Medicine Man. The audience begins with the story of the peace pipe and into the life of Black Elk. Black Elk's visions are stunning and the pictures in this special edition enhance the story. You may want to glance at the notes in the margin as they help explain some of the instances where Neihardt may not have had the proper translation or added to the biography to make the text flow a little better. The text also recounts the Battle of Wounded Knee from the eyes of the Sioux. Think your history textbook taught you everything you should know about Native Americans? Try this instead.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 1999

    Great Book, quick read!

    This was an excellent account of Sioux history from a Native American point of view. I read this book in 2 days it is very interesting and easy to read. I liked the fact that they poked fun at themselves and the soldiers. The visions are very descriptive. Black Elk was involved in most of the well known historical points for the Sioux. If you like Native American History or Culture you will enjoy this book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2000

    Black Elk Speaks

    Black Elk Speaks, as told through John G. Neihardt, is a life story about a true warrior. All his life he defended his land, family, and his freedom. The Oglala Sioux will remember Black Elk¿s presence forever; he was and is an inspiration for the Native Americans. The Oglala Sioux only fought the Wasichus when they felt their family and land was threatened. Neihardt states, ¿Crazy Horse fought the Washicus only when they came to kill us in our own land¿ (p. 143). To kill someone in his land for no reason was downright cruel. The Oglala Sioux spent most of the nineteenth century protecting themselves and their culture. Their valiant efforts lost the war against the Wasichus. Black Elk¿s dream, like many other Native American¿s dreams, is simply to live off the land with his family and not be disturbed. The Wasichus made this virtually impossible by building railroads throughout their land. The railroads separated the Oglala Sioux¿s lifeline, which was the bison. Without bison, the Oglala Sioux couldn¿t survive. The Oglala Sioux had a difficult time protecting their land. It¿s hard protecting something without the numbers and the necessary weapons. The Oglala Sioux¿s dream died in their own land, along with the butchered women and children lying heaped and scattered all along the crooked gulch. That¿s a tragic sight to see for a young boy, which Black Elk saw with his young eyes. Black Elk expressed his feelings about the disaster created by the Washicus and his inability to change the situation. ¿And I, to whom so great a vision was given in my youth, - you see me now a pitiful old man who has done nothing, for the nation¿s hoop is broken and scattered. There is no center any longer, and the sacred tree is dead¿ (p. 270). This quote explains not only what happened to the Oglala Sioux, but also to the entire Native American culture. Black Elk¿s presence is still felt today. He witnessed several atrocities throughout his life. He fought bravely for his family only to see them butchered. Black Elk, like other warriors, deserves respect. I certainly respect Black Elk and his destroyed culture.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2000

    Boring

    This was a boring book. I didn't really understand what all those visions were. It didn't really explain anything and it wasn't that special. I couldn't find anything in this book that I enjoyed. I constantly looked at how many pages I had left to read because i was so eager to finish the book. because it took me quite a long time to finish.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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