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Reveals the life of Lakota healer Nicholas Black Elk as he led his tribe's battle against white settlers who threatened their homes and buffalo herds, and describes the victories and tragedies at Little Bighorn and Wounded Knee. Reprint.
Winner of the Society of American Historians' Francis Parkman Prize Winner of the PEN / Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography Best Biography of 2016, True West magazine Winner of the Western Writers of America 2017 Spur Award, Best Western Biography Finalist, National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography Long-listed for the Cundill History Prize One of the Best Books of 2016, The Boston Globe The epic life story of the Native American holy man who has inspired millions around the world Black Elk, the Native American holy man, is known to millions of readers around the world from his 1932 testimonial Black Elk Speaks. Adapted by the poet John G. Neihardt from a series of interviews with Black Elk and other elders at the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, Black Elk Speaks is one of the most widely read and admired works of American Indian literature. Cryptic and deeply personal, it has been read as a spiritual guide, a philosophical manifesto, and a text to be deconstructed—while the historical Black Elk has faded from view. In this sweeping book, Joe Jackson provides the definitive biographical account of a figure whose dramatic life converged with some of the most momentous events in the history of the American West. Born in an era of rising violence between the Sioux, white settlers, and U.S. government troops, Black Elk killed his first man at the Little Bighorn, witnessed the death of his second cousin Crazy Horse, and traveled to Europe with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show. Upon his return, he was swept up in the traditionalist Ghost Dance movement and shaken by the Massacre at Wounded Knee. But Black Elk was not a warrior, instead accepting the path of a healer and holy man, motivated by a powerful prophetic vision that he struggled to understand. Although Black Elk embraced Catholicism in his later years, he continued to practice the old ways clandestinely and never refrained from seeking meaning in the visions that both haunted and inspired him. In Black Elk, Jackson has crafted a true American epic, restoring to its subject the richness of his times and gorgeously portraying a life of heroism and tragedy, adaptation and endurance, in an era of permanent crisis on the Great Plains.
"Black Elk Speaks is the story of the Lakota visionary and healer Nicholas Black Elk (1863-1950) and his people during the momentous twilight years of the nineteenth century. Black Elk met the distinguished poet, writer, and critic John G. Neihardt (1881-1973) in 1930 on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota and chose Neihardt to tell his story. Neihardt understood and conveyed Black Elk's experiences in this powerful and inspirational message for all humankind." "This new edition features two additional essays by John G. Neihardt that further illuminate his experience with Black Elk; an essay by Alexis Petri, great-granddaughter of John G. Neihardt, that celebrates Neihardt's remarkable accomplishments; and a look at the legacy of the special relationship between Neihardt and Black Elk, written by Lori Utecht, editor of Knowledge and Opinion: Essays and Literary Criticism of John G. Neihardt."--BOOK JACKET.
Ambitious and provocative, Interpreting the Legacy: John Neihardt and Black Elk Speaks is a new study of the classic spiritual text that is sure to spark debate. Neihardt's work has recently been critiqued by scholars who maintain that the author filtered and corrupted Black Elk's teachings through a European spiritual and political lens. In this book, Brian Holloway offers a rather different view, making a convincing case that Neihardt quite consciously attempted to use his literary craftsmanship to provide the reader with direct and immediate access to the teachings of the Oglala elder. Using Neihardt's original handwritten notes and early manuscript drafts, Holloway demonstrates the poet's careful and deliberate re-creation of Black Elk's spiritual world in order to induce a transcendent experience in the reader. Through exhaustive research into Neihardt's biographical materials, published philosophical and metaphysical writings, and volumes of taped lectures, Holloway examines the sources of the book's production as well as the reactions to and the implications of his literary portrayal of the spiritual world of the Oglala. Restoring Neihardt's reputation as a faithful witness to Black Elk's sacred landscape, Interpreting the Legacy: John Neihardt and Black Elk Speaks will be of interest to Neihardt scholars and students of literature, religious studies, and Native American studies.
Through the skillful use of a great variety of literary genres, this book explores the intimate relation and tension between religion and spirituality, evoking a wide range of responses that may awaken one to various possibilities of spiritual experience.