This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Black Elk Speaks Essay

1792 words - 7 pages

Undoubtedly, reading a primary source or a personal account of a person's life offers a higher degree of insight and emotional impact, unmatched by that of any other source. A primary source in a sense personifies fact-based sources, as they include emotions, opinions, universal truths, and realities unspoken in other sources. Thus, primary sources are essential for the better understanding of any topic, as not only do they reveal black and white, but all the colors that reside in-between. However, a primary source is only as valid as the word of its author. In addition, it offers only one perspective of the situation, as it is told in a manner that suits the authors' bias, ignorance and state of mind. Finally, as a primary source brings situations closer to life, truths are often stretched for that more intimate look. In an attempt to uncover the elements used to write and decipher primary sources, Neihardt's "Black Elk Speaks" will be the root of our examination. Names such as Sitting Bull, Red Cloud, Crazy Horse, Wounded Knee, and Little Big Horn are names commonly associated with the Westward Expansion and with battles fought between the Americans and Native Americans. However, as read in a textbook, they are essentially statistics and funny names in which we often neglect to find any relevance to ourselves. So with the exception to maybe a couple questions on a history quiz, these people and their stories will once again perish from America. Now it is only Neihardt's "Black Elk Speaks" that may prolong the second annihilation of the Native American culture. "Black Elk Speaks" is about the life of Oglala Sioux, warrior and medicine man, (Nick) Black Elk. This warrior saw his Indian nation prosper as a child, collapse as teen, and diminish as an adult. He lived his early life as any normal Indian child, learning the ways of the sacred hoop and religion of his tribe, aided by a sacred vision. He fought to protect his tribe against the westward expansion of the Americans, but most importantly for their livelihood. Finally as an adult he is left only to look back on his now, almost non-existent way of life. In 1931, Black Elk leaves his story by word of mouth, to his son, Ben Black Elk who translates the story into English, so that Neihardt can share this last vision with the world. Although Black Elk has his life's story published to the world, he is not too keen on the idea of sharing his vision, especially with other whites. The vision is something sacred that belongs to Black Elk, but more importantly to his culture. He sees that he cannot relate to and become a part of the white society and feels whites will be just as incapable of relating to Sioux Culture. However, he shares his vision to help preserve the Native American culture, allowing his grandfathers and other spirits live on. He refuses to tell his story to other whites, but justifies his decision to tell Neihardt as if he had been...

Find Another Essay On Black Elk Speaks

Discusses the main message of John Neihardt's book "Black Elk Speaks"; uses specific examples and Black Elk's experiences

911 words - 4 pages teacher suggested that I explain my main points more clearlyBlack Elk Speaks, a powerful narrative told by Black Elk through John G. Neihardt, recreates powerful historical accounts of the American Indian Wars through eye-witness descriptions and graphic imagery. Black Elk chose Neihardt to act as his disciple, so that Neihardt could pass on the power of his sacred visions and the knowledge that he possessed as a Lakota holy man. Both parties

The Analysis of the Struggles of an African-American Man and a Native American Man

1624 words - 6 pages desperate moments in life. Works Cited Busby, Brittany, and Andrea Risjord. "Malcolm X." Introduction to Religion 100. Oxford College of Emory University. Alpha 257, Oxford, Georgia. Keynote. Haley, Alex. The Autobiography of Malcolm X. New York: Ballantine Book, 1973. 170+. Print. Neihardt, John. Black Elk Speaks. Twenty-First-Century Edition. Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press, 1988. 01+. Print.

Review of John G. Neihardt's "Black Elks speaks"

1225 words - 5 pages The book Black Elk Speaks was written in the early 1930's by author John G.Neihardt, after interviewing the medicine man named Black Elk. Neihardt was alreadya published writer, and prior to this particular narrative he was at work publishing acollection of poems titled Cycle of the West. Although he was initially seeking infor-mation about a peculiar Native American religious movement that occurred at the endof the 19th century for the

United States Policies toward the Sioux Indian Nation

1260 words - 5 pages exchange for acres of prime hunting land. Well, rather than send these provisions directly to the tribe, they were diverted and sold to local merchants who then turned around and sold the provisions to the rightful recipients at prices well beyond fair. Black Elk recalls a similar occurrence in Black Elk Speaks, "Hunger was among us often now, for much of what the Great Father in Washington sent us must have been stolen by Wasichus who were crazy

Native American Literature

1801 words - 7 pages charge of the world in which we live" (72). This spiritual legend is an example of the way the Native Americans brought their spirituality into their literature. Black Elk, a Sioux medicine man, had extraordinary visions, along with the ability to cure the sick, predict certain happenings, and to instruct his people. From the exert "Black Elk Speaks," he tells his story on becoming a medicine man. Although he helped many people, he still felt as

My Initial Reaction to the Various Forms of Literature

1648 words - 7 pages seen the people of his culture suffer and flourish and because of this he has "grown deep like the rivers." Rivers are not the only thing flowing in this poem, Hughes words are as well. Again, I enjoy reading the works of authors who can paint a picture without using a paint brush or paint.         Unfortunately, a passage from Black Elk Speaks, written by John G. Neihardt as mostly narrated from Black Elk, is next on the list of

The Way It Ought To Be

1960 words - 8 pages Throughout this semester from the texts we have covered in class I have learned numerous amounts of things but some of the themes stuck out more than others and actually spoke to me. After analyzing all notes from the books, movies, and excerpts the connection that I made that seemed the most clear to me was between “Black Elk Speaks” and Shane. These two texts for the class showed me people have dreams; their communities could prosper from if

Theme of Self Confidence in Literature

1496 words - 6 pages Theme of Self Confidence in Literature Spirit of self shows self confidence. In the stories of "The Life of a Slave" by: Frederick Douglass and "The Invisible Man" (The Narrator, The Battle Royale) by: Ralph Ellison with shorts stories of Black Elk Speaks (High Horse, Crazy Horse and Pipe Boyhood) Translated by: Jim Neidhardt all have characteristics of self confidence. Self Confidence comes from the spirit of self which is the belief of

Investigation into landscape

1629 words - 7 pages representative of the new South. She stands vastly apart from the grandmother, who is touted with wearing “big black valise” and “white cotton gloves” to give the impression of an aristocratic lady (Proulx 118). The grandmother is thus living in the past landscape during the present setting, an unstable balance that leads to conflict. Just as after the United States Civil War the South experienced what has become known as The Lost Cause, an regional

The Native American Shaman: The Source of Sacred Knowledge

3223 words - 13 pages who are forced by illness, a compelling dream or vision, or some other need, to become shamans whether they want to or not. An example of how this happens is given in Black Elk Speaks, when as a young boy Black Elk becomes very ill and experiences a very powerful vision (Neihardt, pg. l7). Although generally, most visions are not experienced until young adulthood. At first the individual may not understand the vision or what is happening

Lakota (Sioux) Indians and Creation

2109 words - 9 pages Eagle, David, perf. David Bald Eagle - Essential Understanding Neihardt, John G. Black Elk Speaks. New York City: Washignton Square Press, Print. "Lakota Today." Red Cloud Indian School. Red Cloud Indian School. Web. 9 Apr 2014. . DeCory, Jace , perf. Jace DeCory pt 1 Language and Identity - Essential Understanding

Similar Essays

Black Elk Speaks Essay

1310 words - 5 pages Black Elk Speaks The division in the world among the races always was and will be one of the biggest issues that the people have to deal with and solve. Many cultures, Indian culture is one of the examples, were affected by the persecution of the people who were though to be “superior” to others. Indian culture was persecuted by whites, which wanted to wipe off the Indian civilization from the face of the world. The Native Americans

Discussion Of Black Elk Speaks Essay

927 words - 4 pages Discussion of Black Elk Speaks Black Elk was a holy man of the Oglala band of the Lakota Sioux nation. Black Elk interpreted his life as a holy man as "the story of a mighty vision" (BES, p. 2). As a child, Black Elk was blessed with a great vision from the other world. In receiving his great vision, Black Elk received a great power, a "power to make over" (BES, p. 201), a power to make things better for sick and suffering individuals and

"Black Elk Speaks As Told Through John G. Neihard" By Nicholas Black Elk

1497 words - 6 pages each other, and the true form of brotherhood they share. It is amazing to see how people can bond together.I really enjoyed this book. The description of the fighting, struggle, and despair is exceptional. It gave me a real "painted" picture what happened from people who were there. Not only from people there, but a more accurate depiction instead of how history books of today try to make it sound not as bad as it really was. Black Elk also speaks

The Theme Of Ecology In “Black Elk Speaks” And “The Crucible”

953 words - 4 pages Ecology is defined as the interconnections between human and nonhuman beings. Ecology addresses the full scale of life. The theme of ecology is commonly found in American literature. Such is the case of the memoir “Black Elk Speaks” written in 1932. “Black Elk Speaks” tells the story of a member of the Sioux tribe and a relative of Crazy Horse, named Black Elk. Black Elk was a witness to the Battle of Little Big Horn in 1876. Throughout this