Even though this book relies heavily on the Black Elk Speaks book that inspired Carl Jjng, it also tells a lot of the details about this important figure in the Lakota nation. Like many people, I have been fascinated with the Oglala mystic Black Elk since I was given a copy of John Neihardt’s recording of Black Elk’s story in Black Elk Speaks. Steltenkamp’s stated purpose is merely to set the record straight about a person who has become for many synonymous with Lakota spirituality. This book awoke in me the tragic life of the American Indian in the time of white racial expansion and the desire to blend power with conversion. Black Elk's life spanned the time period from the Battle of Little Bighorn, through the Wild West Shows of Buffalo Bill, the Ghost Dance movement, the Massacre at Wounded Knee, and the loss of the Native American's spiritual identity through their removal to the reservations, loss of their children to "white" schools, and the destruction of t. Extremely well-written and fully researched biography of Black Elk, Lakota holy man, healer and leader, author (with John G. Neihardt) of Black Elk Speaks. The drama of martyrdom, for both Edith Stein — philosopher, convert, Carmelite — and Jerzy Popieluszko — priest and patriot — commands our attention. Includes Black Elk's visions, his touring with Cody's Wild West Show in Europe, his reservation career as a Catholic catechist, the process of the Neihardt interviews, and Black Elk's later life efforts to reconnect tribe members to their roots and teach non-natives about the rich Lakota culture. The author ably recounts these pivotal events, particularly Custer's last stand and the death of Crazy Horse. tying in Jung with Black Elk) was superb. Black Elk became not only a Catholic, but also a catechist. Editorial Reviews. Catholics who rely on Black Elk and the archetypal images and symbols in Black Elk Speaks and The Sacred Pipe for new directions in worship and liturgy could make a similar mistake. New Oxford Review. He synthesized the elements of both, and felt he was the transmitter of a message that was so important to not only his people, but to America and it's soul. I had come across the name of Black Elk before, but never really knew who he was as his name did not have the power that Crazy Horse or Sitting Bull held. All of this comes to us in the words of Black Elk as he lived through and witnessed many of the major historical events involving the Sioux and was a highly regarded tribal holy man. It tells the story of Black Elk the Catholic. Occasionally, the author also falls back on statements beginning with "Black Elk is likely to have..." or "It was common at the time..." I don't personally care for this type of speculation. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Maybe others will benefit more from the book than I did. $19.95. His nonfiction includes: “A native policeman wore a white man’s uniform, lived in a frame house, and earned a monthly salary at a time when his fellows lived off government rations. He saw so much of the tragic history of his Oglala Lakota people, was a cousin to Crazy Horse and was with him at the Battle of the Little Bighorn; he saw his people continually lose their land to broken promises by the whites; he travelled to Europe with Buffalo Bill and performed in his Wild West show in Europe for a few years; he returned to the US and his people, continually trying to encourage them to value the old Indian ways. Black Elk’s story also found its way into movies, books, plays, songs, poems, and various political, religious, and environmental movements. This story of his life therefore inspires, and reminds us of the importance of such qualities. But he was unusual as he felt there was a a parallel between Christianity and the Sioux trad. While its larger focus is the life of Black Elk, his vision, the first person accounts of both the massacres at Little Big Horn and Wounded Knee, and his interesting life, the book also is a cultural story of the Lakotas. This book awoke in me the tragic life of the American Indian in the time of white racial expansion and the desire to blend power with conversion. The biography of the Sioux elder born in the Powder River country in Wyoming, Hehaka Sapa, or Black Elk (1863-1950). Equally fascinating was Jackson's account of the book Neihardt ultimately produced, which disappeared almost immediately upon publication and didn't become popular again until the counter-cultural Sixties. . 211 pp. Black Elk remarkably was at so many epic moments of American life and he was gifted with visions that not only helped him to cope with this tragedy, but also brought him great pain. "Out here [on the Piney Ridge Reservation], where just surviving to adulthood is a gamble, Black Elk provided a 'presence' or a 'state of mind' instead of certain knowledge" to those who admire and look to min for a sense of identity in connection to Indian culture. The book is not, however, mere hagiography. It would have been 5 stars if it was slightly more abridged. User Review - Not Available - Book Verdict For many years, John G. Neihardt's influential Black Elk Speaks (1931), which explored the life of Lakota spiritual leader Nicholas Black Elk (1863 … The writing about Crazy Horse is particularly interesting. Thorough history of the Lakota during Black Elk's life, and very readable. He gained fame as the subject of John G. Neihardt's book "Black Elk Speaks" which was originally published in 1931 but did not gain traction until the 1960's when it became one of the cornerstones of the "New Age" movement. Black Elk was a fascinating person, in that he was many people at different times and to different people, but this biography really creates a throughline of who he was at his core. BLACK ELK Holy Man of the Oglala. Welcome back. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. Be the first to ask a question about Black Elk. This book filled me with sadness for what was lost by the First Americans in their encounter with white Americans. Black Elk remarkably was at so many epic moments of American life and he was gifted with visions that not only helped him to cope with this tragedy, but also brought him great pain. With compassion and clarity, Jackson portrays Black Elk as a man haunted by his inability to make sense of the 'Great Vision' that came to him as a child . Black Elk was like a Sioux Zelig (or Forest Gump), witness to nearly all the major tribal events. A sober and thorough perspective of the interactions between the US and Native Americans, through the eyes of a man that understood the past, present, and future at that time. © The story is told … Many “green” Catholics may not relish the idea that to “be like Black Elk” means to evangelize and pray the Rosary. Anthropologists, sociologists, historians, and other scholars adopted Black Elk’s life, as portrayed in the books, as normative for studies of the Lakota. This was not just about Black Elk's life but was really an overview of Sioux history from the 1860s to the 1970s. Prior to reading this, I knew of Black Elk primarily as the subject of the Neihardt book "Black Elk Speaks," which … 4.7 out of 5 stars257 It is also a history of the Sioux people during the last half of the 19th century and after the end of formal warfare with the whites and the tribe's confinement on reservations. More than a recollection of war stories, much of Black Elk Speaks concerns a vision Black Elk had as a child and his quest to fulfill his spiritual calling. As Steltenkamp states: “Black Elk embodied traditional Lakota ideology as he manifested a resilient willingness to let go of what was and to experience what might be the disclosures of Wakan Tanka.” Put another way, “His passage from medicine man to catechist, from horseback to motorcycle and cars, from forager to successful rancher, from buffalo subsistence to sauerkraut, and from buckskin to three-piece suits provides a more accurate picture of what it has meant, and does mean, to be a Lakota.” (A note on the sauerkraut: Most of the missionary priests were German immigrants, and Steltenkamp occasionally reveals how two distinct groups, Lakota and German priests, together adjusted to a new way of life.). Book Review – Black Elk, Lakota Visionary: The Oglala Holy Man and Sioux Tradition. A lot of the text could have been footnotes for readers looking for expansion. Well, some of the story as it turns out. What makes this book unusual is that most of this information was first published in a book written by John Neihardt in 1930 following a series of interviews Neihardt had with Black Elk. Book review: Black Elk. But those two were leaders and warriors, and no book ever told the tales of the spiritual leaders that these communities had. By Michael F. Steltenkamp. But it also filled me with hope. Way too much historical detail offered in this book to dig through word by word. This was an enjoyable read for me. He repeatedly spoke of how the Lakota ways were “connected” to Catholicism, and how the spiritual experiences of the Lakota prepared them for Christ. 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