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American Writers: a journey through history is a permanent archive for educators, researchers and every one interested in the writers featured in the  C‑SPAN series.


Chapter I








Born: December 1863? - Little Powder River, Wyoming
Died: August 17, 1950


Born to a medicine man who followed Crazy Horse, Black Elk witnessed the Battle of Little Bighorn in 1876 and the upheaval that followed the tribe's flight to Canada to join Sitting Bull.
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Black Elk, Black Elk Speaks
C-SPAN's Video Library: Black Elk
In 1886 he joined Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. In 1889 he returned to the Pine Ridge Reservation, where, as a spiritual authority, he supported the Ghost Dance movement. The movement, built on the belief that ritual observances would cause the white people to leave and the buffalo to return, declined after it failed to protect its followers at the Battle of Wounded Knee.

In 1904 he was converted by a priest to the Catholic faith and took the name Nicholas Black Elk. As a member of the Society of St. Joseph, he helped sponsor the annual Catholic Sioux Congress and was active in converting others to Catholicism.

Black Elk's Work
Black Elk Speaks
In Black Elk Speaks(1932), edited by John G. Neihardt, he describes his childhood and early adult life and the spiritual life of the Sioux. In The Sacred Pipe (1953), edited by Joseph E. Brown, he describes Sioux ritual and spiritual practices.

Web sites about the work
Western Historical Manuscript Collection's
John G. Neihardt: Poet of the American West
John G. Neihardt



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