Black Elk: Colonialism and Lakota Catholicismby Damian Costello
Arguing from a post-colonial perspective, author
This fascinating study of Black Elk, the Oglala Lakota subject of the bestselling Black Elk Speaks, challenges the assumptions of many scholars-both those who claim that Black Elk was a Lakota holy man first and foremost and those who maintain that he abandoned his Lakota tradition after converting to Catholicism.
Arguing from a post-colonial perspective, author Damien Costello deconstructs modern Western assumptions and shows that Black Elk was an active agent, and that his conversion was in continuity with the dynamics of Lakota culture and provided new power to challenge the dominance of colonialism. As a consequence, Black Elk the Lakota holy man and Black Elk the Lakota catechist remembered by his community were not contradictory but one consistent agent fighting for the survival of his people in a colonial world infringing on the Lakota, their lands, and their traditions.
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